Kitchie Ohh: Oh, It’s Nothing!

Glamour portrait of the very sexy pinup model Kitchie OHH for Tony Ward Studio
Kitchie Ohh. Photo: Victor Devilbliss. Copyright 2024

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2024

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Oh, It’s Nothing!

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If you’ve read my earlier posts here, you know how close I am with my family. They are a large part of the person I am today. If you haven’t, well, that’s kind of an understatement but still true.

Recently, I was shocked to get the several days delayed news that my mother had fallen and severely injured herself. She required immediate surgery and would need to remain in the hospital. It was very little consolation that this injury occurred while she was doing what she and my father love- seeing the world from on board a cruise ship- or that said ship was docked in the gorgeous port of Maui, Hawaii at the time. She was, literally, on the other side of the world, and there was not a damn thing I could do to help. 

When we were finally able to speak, my parents told me of the excellent care at the hospital, the kindness delivered alongside the routine medical services. And, of course, they were thankful that the hospital was near beachfront and they had a gorgeous view. They could still see a bit of Hawaii, despite their situation. 

My siblings and I, unknown to either of our parents, sprang into action, assigning and volunteering for key tasks that would need to be completed before mom came home. She would be unable to climb stairs for 6 weeks, maybe longer. There was no way we could allow her to come home without a plan that was in equal parts for her recuperation and for our peace of mind. We would need to make the ground floor comfortable enough to be a makeshift bedroom for her, clear enough to safely accommodate a wheelchair or walker, private enough to allow for daily hygiene tasks if she couldn’t get to the bathroom.There was more we didn’t know about what she needed, than what we did.  Everything we could think to do, was done, having no idea when -or HOW- they would be getting home. We were as ready as we could be. 

Luckily, my niece was with them and made the necessary flight and hotel arrangements to get them all safely from there to here. Just shy of one week from the day we heard the news, we were planning for their arrival back to Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating. A week of storms made travel more dangerous, not to mention added the never fun task of snow and ice removal to our to-do list. But that evening, the flight remained on time and we got mom and dad (niece and fiancée, too) home safely, to a clear driveway, and an organized house with only a few minor hiccups not even worth mentioning. 

As we settled them in and listened to all of the details between hugs and tears, the relief everyone felt was obvious. Home is a magical, comforting place. We pointed out all that was done in preparation and made sure nothing was missed, addressing if it was. Soon, all of us were yawning, it was definitely time to rest, but not before confirming the remainder of the plan. 

Reconvening the following morning, we shopped, chopped, cooked and meal prepped, cleaned and did laundry. We made it easy for dad to keep things going while he worried and fussed over mom. We also sat around and did what we do best. We ate, we talked and laughed, made wildly inappropriate jokes and brought back a sense of normalcy. 

Completely overwhelmed, mom repeatedly apologized, dad paced, and both thanked us profusely. As we finished up tasks, made sure every detail was handled, Dad beamed, telling us how proud he was at the way we pulled together; no arguing, no questions asked, just jumping into action when they were in need. 

My first thought was to say “oh, it’s nothing!” but recalled another instance of stepping in to handle a stressful situation for someone else and the response that remark got me.“Don’t ever say that. It may seem insignificant to you, but that small thing, that “nothing” meant so much more than words can express.” And so, standing in the kitchen, drying my hands after cleaning up the last of our mess, I hugged my dad, tightly, and told him, “that’s what we do, right? It’s what you and mom taught us, by showing us. If there’s something you can do to help, you do it. We love you.” 

Honestly, there really isn’t a better lesson I can think of that they taught me by setting this example. It’s not one that only applies in times of crisis or just to family either. An action, a compliment, getting someone their favorite snack just because, being a hug or shoulder to cry on, whatever it may be, however little effort it took, it means something. It could mean everything to that person in that moment. 

It’s the smallest things bring me the most joy, whether I’m providing or receiving them. Grand gestures make me uncomfortable. Words often go unsaid. But the ‘I saw this and thought of you,’ the ‘I did that thing you’ve been putting off so you don’t have to worry about it,’ the everyday mundane, small things, the going slightly out of your way, tolerating a mildly inconvenient moment for the benefit of someone else, unasked….THAT is love in the purest, kindest form. 

So, in this month of all things chocolate, roses, hearts and love, as people bend over backward for their Valentines for one day,  think smaller. It might mean more than you will ever know. 

Glamour portrait of the very sexy pinup model Kitchie OHH for Tony Ward Studio
Kitchie Ohh. Photo: Victor Devilbliss. Copyright 2024

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits in the Philadelphia area over the last 20 years. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then, she has worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in- and on the covers of – multiple print and digital publications. Over the years, she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.

In addition to her philanthropy-focused career, she has volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even the events team of a local brewery for a while, pre-pandemic.

You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once. To access additional articles by Kitchie Ohh, link here: https://tonyward.com/kitchie-ohh-thanks-i-feel-awful/

Savanna: On Swings


Text by Savanna, Copyright 2024

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On Swings

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Creative Director: KVaughn

Hair and Makeup: Octavia Monroe

Lighting Assistant: Anthony Colagreco

BTS: Al B For

Rope Work: Scorpiana

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Last year, to my delight, I got to meet and get close to someone quite special. This someone turns out to be my inner child, and she is so rambunctious. Lively, mischievous — all she wants to do is have fun. And I think I am becoming one of her biggest fans.

I’ve been thinking a lot about swings (and her) lately. She brings with her memories of twisted-up steel chains, raveling and unraveling at inhuman speeds. Interlocking ankles with friends, swings swinging higher and higher, back and forth until the mishmash of ankles finally comes loose. (We called these ‘banana splits.’) Fast racing heartbeats as she and her friends dared each other to jump as far as they could. She would even place the seat against the middle of her back so she could wrap her little legs around the chains above and swing upside down.

This shoot for The Vixens Series was full of firsts. It was my first shoot in collaboration with Tony Ward, his studio, and his creative team. It was the studio and team’s first shoot incorporating Shibari and rope suspension elements. I love rope. Consensual rope bondage involves using rope as a means of restricting movement, wrapping, suspending, or restraining someone; it is a subsection of BDSM activities and has roots in Japanese rope bondage. When I think about it, I’m not surprised that this is what my adult self has fallen in love with. An inclination to be on the ground and to feel all the sensations internally and externally. It’s the “just feeling” part. Flavors of rope that I particularly enjoy: when my head is in my body, the mental endurance, challenging the reality of pain, the goofiness, the exploratory moments of seeing what my body can physically take and its range of motion, and the connectivity I can experience with others.

If I think about it a little more, I can see the little spirited inner child beside me, along for the ride. And she’s having so, so much fun.

Out of the different looks during our collaborative shoot, my favorite was our rope concept. I don’t have much experience with a fashion editorial-style shoot, and the team hadn’t done rope bondage in previous shoots. We were suddenly on the precipice of something new. We were all explorers! I loved that we were all experiencing something new together — through one another. To me, being seen as a vixen is a shared experience. It is to explore the unexplored with others, feel with them, react with them; it is something everyone contributes to.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Savanna currently resides in New York. She enjoys finding new music, traveling, experimenting cooking with different foods, and caring for her plants.  This is Savanna’s first contribution to Tony Ward Studio. To access additional articles by Savanna, link here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/savanna-autonomy/

Kitchie Ohh: Thanks, I Feel Awful

Topless photo of Kitchie Ohh with natural large breasts
Kitchie Ohh. Photos by Jeff Cohn, Copyright 2024

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2024

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Thanks, I Feel Awful

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Well, here we are again. Another year over, another just beginning. Once again, I am not making -or advocating the making of- resolutions. I’ll spend the next 365 or whatever time the universe has allotted to me, being the best me I can be. But who is the judge of that? The best. What does it even mean?

For the longest time, every thought I had about myself was the worst. So much of my identify and self-worth was tied up in how others viewed me, physically. I’ll feel better and people will like me more when … I tried so hard; then tried harder to stop that way of thinking and acting. But, recently, I slid so far backward, so quickly, so easily, that I almost didn’t recognize it. Or myself. 

I think we can all safely say that the period of time since March 2020 has been a crazy ride. The pandemic, the sudden end to life as we knew it and a figure it out as we go along new way of doing everything. At the time, I was working in what would be deemed an essential service agency. The stress of the “what if we shut down?” thoughts and everything that went into assuring staff and clients alike that this would not happen was rough. Having a role that allowed working remotely was a blessing and a curse. I could stay safe and healthy but see no one and go nowhere. I was relieved to still have a job and a purpose, but felt like I had almost lost complete control over everything else. 

I am a creature of habit; routine helps me make sense of things. So when every step of my daily to do list came to a crashing halt in 2020, I had to start over with a new one. For years I went to the gym every day after work. I meal prepped, typically the same healthy ingredients in different combinations breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I was successfully maintaining a significant weight loss. It’s horrible and kind of embarrassing to admit, but one of my first thoughts at the beginning of the pandemic was fear that I would gain it back from inactivity and stress eating. Which I kicked myself for and then proceeded to stress eat and do nothing, gaining several pounds as a result. I began beating myself up for it and threw myself into creating the new routine.

Step one, acquire a home workout platform subscription. Step two, find a program that needed little to no equipment. Step three, meal plan and prep. Easy peasy. Things started off okay, it took a few weeks to get into the groove, but I did, and even started to enjoy the program. Then work began getting more stressful. I found myself throwing myself harder into working out because I didn’t have to think about anyone or anything else when I was doing it. I started noticing changes, I definitely lost a few of the found pounds. I liked that, a lot. Suddenly I found myself working out multiple times a day. Wake up, workout. Lunch break, workout. After dinner, workout. The virtual “friends” I made, all following the same program at various levels were great for the personal connection I was missing but they were also terrible influences in disguise. Every day, we checked in with what workouts did, what we ate and what we were planning to eat, complimenting each other on class milestones and physical transformations, encouraging one another to keep going, calling it ‘accountability.’ Really we were all just comparing ourselves to one another, one-upping each other, doing our best to feel fitter, better, prettier, more perfect than people we didn’t really know. 

I loved having a new routine. What I loved even more was seeing the weight drop off as a result. I lost more than I had gained back. I was the smallest I had ever been in my adult life. Eating the caloric equivalent of a toddler’s diet while working out for 2+ hours every day will do that to ya. I was posting my progress on social media, reveling in the virtual praise. When the pandemic restrictions started to ease just a little, I took any opportunity that presented itself to see people in person, distanced or masked, at work, with family, or friends. Without fail, I was greeted with compliments. I minimized the effort and deflected questions, especially from the people who knew me best. I knew what they were going to tell me, I already knew it myself. I had developed an eating disorder. Hey, guys what? They’re not just for teenaged girls. I was obsessed with the need to burn off every excess calorie because it might come back with thousands of its friends to ruin my new look. And so I only consumed the bare minimum but burned the maximum, every day. My pants were smaller, but my hair was falling out. My stomach was flat, but I hadn’t had a period in months. I couldn’t get warm, my hands and feet often went ghostly pale and lost feeling at the slightest temperature fluctuation. But I was thin. I felt like shit, but I looked great. For vanity’s sake I kept it up for two years.

One day, it finally clicked how miserable I was. This was an extreme (and extremely dangerous) reaction to feeling like I had lost control. I counted and restricted everything, planned my day to the minute, because I was in charge of this one little part of my life. Somehow, it had gotten way out of control and taken over. I see the irony now. 

I slowly began to reduce the workouts and use extra time to actually relax; only berating myself a little bit for being lazy before realizing how tired I was and how much I needed to slow down. I increased my calorie intake, veering off my trusty, super restricted, weighed and measured food prep menu one meal at a time; only panicking a little when going over my “daily limit.” It took me quite a while to stop logging every ingredient of every meal to know the exact macros. I deleted the apps at the beginning of this year and have purposefully not made or eaten any of the go-to meals from that plan. The final thing I had to do was cut the virtual ties with my “fitness friends.” I left the accountability space. I stopped reporting calories in and out to anyone. I stopped watching others set and hit goal weights or share another nonfat, low-carb, no sugar, it’s almost got enough substance to be considered food, healthy recipe, and pretend to enjoy it.  

I still have a routine. Most days begin with a workout, but just one and under an hour. I eat what, when I want and no phone app is involved. Sure, I have gained some weight, and had to purchase new pants. But, I’m definitely healthier, especially mentally. Some days are still harder than others. 

You would think that recognizing and changing unhealthy behaviors would make it easier to avoid them in the future. Sadly, as I look at myself in the mirror, or in a picture and begin the inevitable self-criticism, I sometimes find myself thinking that if I go that hard again – just for a few weeks – I’d look better. That’s the problem, I know it would work. Those smaller equals better feelings and compliments would come again, but I now know their steep price tags. 

So as we start this fresh new year, my non-resolution promise is to remember worth isn’t dependent upon an external standard of beauty; especially if achieving that standard requires compromising health. The people that love and respect me don’t do so because of my dress size, or because I choose a salad over a pizza. And those that do care about those things, aren’t worth my time. 

No matter what the flood of email and social media ads might say this month, being our best shouldn’t mean the skinniest, most attractive, hardest to attain and maintain version of someone else’ perfection. It should mean being the happiest, healthiest, most genuine, truest to ourselves versions. That’s what I’m striving for, this year and always. 

Whatever your stance on resolutions, Happy 2024. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits in the Philadelphia area over the last 20 years. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then, she has worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in- and on the covers of – multiple print and digital publications. Over the years, she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.

In addition to her philanthropy-focused career, she has volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even the events team of a local brewery for a while, pre-pandemic.

You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once. To access additional articles by Kitchie Ohh, link here: https://tonyward.com/kitchie-ohh-the-most-wondeful-time-of-year/

Shane Verandez: Flesh for Fantasy


Text by Shanell Verandez, Copyright 2024

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Flesh for Fantasy

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Flesh will never last, but a sculpture lives on forever…
 
What an incredible vibe to have a sculptor capture a piece of your essence within the compounds of clay to be seen by future generations to come. Imagine that…
My encounter with the sculptor, IIya Livshits, first started as friends on Facebook. I didn’t know that he was an artist let alone a sculptor, his art wasn’t displayed on his Facebook page. I just thought he was an avid hiker/ Nature lover, who likes to dance. So naturally, when he asked me if he could do a sculpture of me, I thought it was a spam message. I mean, it’s not every day or any day that you get asked that lifetime question!
 
I was apprehensive, but curious and expressed interest, so we met in person at an Ethiopian cafe in West Philadelphia. I needed to meet this undercover artist in person and catch a glimpse of this man… Read the vibrations. The meeting was a success and I decided to go ahead and model for project “claymation”. It turned out that the sculptor is an avid hiker, naturalist from Kharkiv, Ukraine Who is a self-taught sculptor since he was 12 years old. IIya now resides in Philadelphia,Pa., and is a Center City based software engineer by day and sculptor extraordinaire by night. The undercover artist… Some of us tend to take on dual lifestyles… “Pleasing others to please ourselves” in order to create our art.
 
During the day of project “claymation”, I was a little nervous because I am going to be in a private studio setting with the sculptor and had to prepare myself mentally and physically for the session. I quickly informed Ilya that I want to live to be 100 years old and am armed for protection so no funny stuff! In these times, you have to protect your “temple” from harmful forces, models! We made it to IIya’s studio located in a large Port Richmond vintage warehouse. His studio was located close to the top floor. Once I entered the studio, it was like a Clay Wonderland of multifaceted figurines of all sizes, races, creeds, and gender so intricately designed by IIya’s hands. The atmosphere of the studio was safe and comfortable, IIya’s laid back and accommodating nature added much to that. I remember during our first meeting( and his Facebook profile pic) that he likes to dance , so I put music on and watched him dance as he set up the space and then without notice, started to throw down the clay and begin to shape a bust of my face. He didn’t even need me to sit still to capture my bone structure. I had realized he was studying my face the whole time in motion. Now that’s impressive…
To capture art in motion and mold the subject into a real form.
 
To IIya, I was a living work of untamed art that he wanted to capture and mold into separate pieces. First the face, and then as he danced and pranced around the studio, started on the second piece, my nude torso, while taking pictures for future photo references to the sculptured pieces done that day. This will help the sculptor continue the focus on his work as the clay is drying for the final phases of completion. It turns out that IIya is a pretty decent photographer too. As the sculpting session began to wind down, and the sculptures were taking shape, a sense of pride started to overwhelm me. You see… I grew up as an “ugly duckling” and never had any confidence about my looks. Even now sometimes I still feel like that duckling, but through the forms of my clayed face and torso sculpted by IIya’s hands and eyes gave me a great profound sense of worthiness. Watching myself being sculpted was an “outer body” experience… A mirrored twin, as I look at a reflection of myself. A clayed form of my evolution that captured little trinkets of my soul into a solidified figure. Not only do I consider this act of art a compliment from the sculptor, but a lasting tribute, that I am here, will be here and made a “beauty” mark in this world. Thank you, IIya Livshits for the incredible experience! May there be more pieces to explore…
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Portrait of beautiful black woman wearing a scarf nude underneath and dark fashionable sunglasses
Shanell. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024.

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To access additional articles by Shanell Verandez, click herehttps://tonyward.com/shanell-verandez-phillys-black-and-brown-fashion-history/

Kitchie Ohh: The Most Wonderful Time of Year

Pin Up model Kitchie Ohh in front of her Christmas tree wearing a robe panties and bra
Kitchie Ohh. Credit:  Click Save Photo, Copyright 2023

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2023

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The Most Wonderful Time of Year

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For more than two decades, I have worked with nonprofit organizations. My involvement with and responsibility for fundraising increased with each passing year.  The causes have varied but are all wonderful and worthy of support. Regardless of the mission, it holds true that the final quarter of the calendar year typically sees the highest volume of donations. It’s the holiday season, people are at their most generous. They want to do something good. Charity donations make excellent gifts for the difficult to shop for and the person who has everything. They also are a wonderful way to honor the memory of loved ones who are no longer here to share the holidays with. This is true year-round, of course. Nonprofit organizations need and appreciate the support, every day, every season. 

People often get swept up in the spirit of generosity. Doing good feels good. Random acts of kindness, unasked for, unexpected, are beautiful. But, they can be misguided. Before getting defensive, please, let me explain. 

When considering a gift for a loved one, or even a coworker or acquaintance for a Secret Santa exchange, you want to be sure the recipient will like their gift, find it useful, or at the absolute least, not think it an obligation or burden to accept. This should also be the case for a philanthropic contribution, be it cash, physical items, or your time and service. Whether it’s an individual recipient, or a charitable organization, all gifts will likely be met with appreciation, a thank you, and in the case of a charity, tax receipt. But what happens after that is what really matters. 

Let’s say you are interested in supporting your local food bank. You heard, recently, that fresh food, like meat proteins, milk and vegetables are often the hardest items to get for people relying on food banks. So you go to your bulk store and pick up as much milk as you can get and rush it over to the local food pantry. They’re overjoyed at the idea, but panic sets in. They absolutely are unprepared to safely store your donation and their next distribution isn’t scheduled until two days from now. While you walk away feeling warm and fuzzy from the good deed, a skeleton crew of volunteers at the organization have to scramble to unload your ‘gift’ or find a way to ensure it remains safely refrigerated until their clients are able to pick it up. It is not unheard of for donated items that may otherwise go to waste or spoil to be quickly given to whoever can take it immediately…whether they are “in need” or not.

Perhaps you are going to support a cause with a financial contribution. Regardless of the number of zeros in the donation amount, the funds can only make the difference you’re hoping for if you allow them to be usable. If you make your contribution but limit it to an extremely specific thing the organization does, they are unable to use them until something comes up that fits your restriction. For example, you’re passionate about animals and choose to give to the animal shelter as a holiday gift for your dear friend. She’s got several dozen chickens, ducks, and geese so you ask that the shelter use these funds to care for injured birds in her honor. This is a lovely gesture, but the shelter rarely receives or cares for birds of any type, but their cat patients could really use some help. Your restriction can’t help them. Legally, restricted funds must be used for their intended purpose and cannot be moved to another purpose without express permission from the donor. They will sit in an account, doing nothing beneficial, until something fits.

Final example, you make a sell a beautiful product and want to offer your customers a free gift for every donation made to your chosen charity during the month of December. You don’t have a physical storefront, but an online shop. So on your website’s home page, you place the charity’s donation page link with the message of “choose one free gift with donation.” Your shop is extremely successful and your customers are very generous.  However, in order for you to fulfill all the free gift shipments, the organization now has to track not only who made donations, but which gift they chose, and the shipping address and provide you with regular reports. Your customers are also now contacting the organization to ask question about the free gifts, if they can change their choice, and whether the shipment will be received before Christmas. This is adding stress on an already busy staff during the busiest time of year. 

There is truth to all three of these examples, only minor details were changed. I don’t offer them to discourage supporting worthy causes in anyway at any time.  I do, however, urge you to think about the recipient organization when considering a donation. Choose the cause that means something to you and trust that are responsible for doing the work can and will do the absolute best with your generosity. Most organizations will have a standard wish list for their biggest needs. Believe me when I say, someone at the organization will be more than happy to talk to you about those needs and how you can make the greatest impact.

One last thought, when considering a charitable donation during the holidays or at any other time of year. While it is essential that an organization be fiscally efficient and responsible, it is also essential that it pay its employees and engage in smart business practices including marketing, printing, and the usual physical space and utilities operating costs. A majority of all donations should go directly to the mission but to remain operable, and effectively work toward goals, covering overhead costs is essential, too. No organization can do their good work with zero budget, nor should they. Financial statements are publicly available. Look for them, and talk to someone at the organization if you’ve got questions. Websites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar are great starting points, but they rarely tell the whole story.

The holiday season is absolutely magical, you cannot convince me otherwise. But it’s up to us to make the magic. So, please, do consider supporting a great cause this season. It doesn’t have to be a large gift. There are more of us who can give a little and collectively do big things than there are those who can make giant contributions. But remember, whether it’s a gift given to an individual or to an organization, it’s not about you, it’s about the recipient. 

Happiest of holidays to you, whichever ones you celebrate. 

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Pin Up model Kitchie Ohh in front of her Christmas tree wearing a robe panties and bra
Kitchie Ohh. Credit: Click Save Photo

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits in the Philadelphia area over the last 20 years. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then, she has worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in- and on the covers of – multiple print and digital publications. Over the years, she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.

In addition to her philanthropy-focused career, she has volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even the events team of a local brewery for a while, pre-pandemic.

You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once. To access additional articles by Kitchie Ohh, link here: https://tonyward.com/kitchie-ohh-the-most-wondeful-time-of-year/