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Life and Arts

On the Town: ‘Bras for a Cause’ expected to be an uplifting experience

Susan Jekarl shows off her decorated bra at Glendale Kiwanis. Surrounding her is Stacey Gin Nishi,
Susan Jekarl shows off her decorated bra at Glendale Kiwanis. Surrounding her is Stacey Gin Nishi, Kiwanis President, left, and Patricia Larrigan, Div. 3 Lt. Governor.
(Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Who would buy the perfect bra and then decorate it to match Van Gogh’s famous painting “Starry Night?” Pratt Art Institute grad Susan Jekarl would.

She’s donating her bra creation to the upcoming “Bras for a Cause,” the Glendale Soroptimist’s annual fundraiser supporting breast cancer awareness. The decorated bras are featured in a silent auction and the highest bidders take them home.

Jekarl is also a busy community volunteer, graphic designer and, most recently, stand-up comic. Comedy must be where she gets her creative whimsy.

Why match a bra with the work of a master artist? “Starry Night” is the theme for this year’s fundraiser that all bra decorators must use as they create their bras.

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Jekarl has been donating her decorated bras to “Bras for a Cause” on and off for eight years. But this one is her masterpiece.

To add a touch of Glendale, Jekarl added a replica of the gold statue at the Americana at Brand. Another addition to the bottom of the bra is painted Glendale’s skyline nestled in jewels, since Glendale is known as “The Jewel City.”

Jekarl added stars on top to give it even more sparkle.

While shopping for the perfect bra, Jekarl looked for one that included lace. Since she wields a serious-looking hot glue gun, the lace helps adhere the decorations to the glue. A multitasker, Jekarl watches Netflix while working on her bra creations.

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Jekarl is a 10-year member of Glendale Kiwanis, which is sponsoring her bra submission through member Heather Watson Ghermezian.

On March 8, during one of the club’s weekly luncheon at the local Elks Lodge, Jekarl unveiled her bra in front of photographers who wanted a sneak peek before the “Bras for a Cause” event. Posing for photos, including Jekarl, were Stacey Gin Nishi, club president; and Patricia Larrigan, Div. 3 Lt. Governor.

“Bras for a Cause” will be held March 30. But when you take home your winning bra, just make sure the hot glue has cooled down.

Another local woman who made good is Kimberly Erjavac, owner of Paul Donnell hair salon in Toluca Lake.

She has just formed her own publishing company and released a young adult novel rated five stars on Amazon. “The Twelfth Coin: Finders” is the first of an expected three-book set.

A proud Kimberly Erjavac and her new book upstage her salon’s hair product display in Toluca Lake.
A proud Kimberly Erjavac and her new book upstage her salon’s hair product display in Toluca Lake.
(Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Erjavac went to bed with the flu one night. The next morning she woke up and remembered her dream, which laid out a detailed plot for the book she decided to write.

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Erjavac describes “The Twelfth Coin” with questions: “How much is a penny really worth? What if it gives you the power to time travel?” What if 12 special pennies could change the world?”

Erjavac’s journey from dream to published book took eight years. She wrote from 4:30 to 7:30 a.m. every morning. The glow from her computer screen in her dark kitchen, “was soothing and helped me focus.” she said.

Then she would jump in the shower, dress and put in an eight-hour day running the salon. If she thought of another plot detail at work, she would write it on her phone and transfer it to her computer at home. If she had a question about sentence structure, phrasing or character, she’d go to Google.

After sending query letters to agent after agent and publisher after publisher with no luck, Erjavac took on the job herself. She formed Beach Park Publishing and got to work.

After putting her book on sale at Amazon, Erjavac was on her way. She was writer, publisher, distributor, marketer and publicist. But it was worth it. Copies started flying off Amazon shelves. So that she can readily have books on hand when Amazon needs more, she stores them in her garage.

Husband John, to whom she has been married for 32 years, is her biggest fan. He just wants a little more garage space.

She is now putting on the finishing touches of book No. 2. Her No. 1 goal “is to get that one kid who doesn’t like to read and change his mind.”

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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