E85 | Franchesca D'Amore | How I Became Franchesca D'Amore
Episode 858th December 2022 • My Fourth Act Podcast • Achim Nowak
00:00:00 00:39:05

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Franchesca D’Amore is a certified professional life coach, medium, reiki master, card reader and a self-described “goddess extraordinaire.” Franchesca has been a serial entrepreneur in the health and wellness industry where, among many accomplishments, she had her own South Florida salon, The Hair Shop, and was Founding President of the non-for-profit Hairstylists for Humanity.

Franchesca is a proudly public trans woman and one of the subjects in the documentary “Open Dialogues: Stories from the LGBTQ community.” She has a long history of community activism and currently serves on the Board of Safe Schools South Florida and as Entertainment Director for Hollywood Pride

www.linkedin.com/in/franchesca-d-amore

Transcripts

Franchesca D’ Amore:

This lightning bolt women to my brain that said you need to start hair stylists for humanity right now. And you need to go to homeless shelters and start channeling healings through hair cutting and the crown chakras. So I look up America Are you kidding me? I mean, it was so clear that this is a an unlike caught really my life is so great right now. But I started crying and crying and crying and they knew that's what I needed to do.

Achim Nowak:

Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the MY FOURTH ACT PODCAST. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your FOURTH ACT? I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created bold and unexpected FOURTH ACTS, listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you are listening on. Let's get started. I am so happy to welcome Francesca Morris to the my fourth act podcast. Francesca is a certified professional life coach and medium, a Reiki Master a card reader and a self described goddess extraordinaire. She has been a serial entrepreneur in the health and wellness industry, where among many other accomplishments, she owned her own South Florida salon, the hair shop and was founding president of their non for profit hair stylists for humanity. Francesca is a proudly public trans woman. And one of the subjects in the documentary open dialogues stories from the LGBTQ community. Francesca has a long history of community activism, and currently serves on the board of Safe School, South Florida. And as entertainment director. It's a Hollywood pride. And I'm just scratching the surface. Hello, Francesca.

Franchesca D’ Amore:

Hi, how are you today?

Achim Nowak:

I'm really well, I'm I am thrilled that we're having this conversation. And the only thing that pains me in advance is I feel like we don't have enough time to get into all this stuff we could explore.

Franchesca D’ Amore:

Yeah, you have?

Achim Nowak:

Well, we may have to do an episode every year in every season where we go further you and I I want to start with this. Because you chose the name Francesca de Moray. Many people don't get to choose their names. And there's a lot that comes with that. And it's a I would say it's a very dramatic name. What does the name Francesca dimora mean to you.

Franchesca D’ Amore:

So it's really interesting. So when I decided to call it repackaging or remarketing myself, I thought long and hard about names that I could use that would describe the rest of my journey. And that could describe me. So Francesca actually means free. It's really quite fitting that the name correlated with that junction in my life, and D, Ahmadi and Italia means of love. So my journey is to be free, free of demons free of old baggage free to be myself and their Moray, my mission is to try to be as much of love as possible. In this wacky world we live in.

Achim Nowak:

Beautiful, beautifully said I. I want to take you back to your youth. And one of the things that people always want to know when we're young growing up parents especially like, what do you want to do with your life? Like what do you want to be when you grew up? So when you were a young person or teenager, what were your thoughts for yourself and the future?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

Well, since I was little, like spoke of becoming an attorney, believe it or not, I was on the trajectory. At 19. I went to school and I got a paralegal degree. So my whole big plan was to work as a paralegal and a law firm that would pay for me to go to law school, which was a very sad decision, but life happened. I ended up in corporate America, but yeah, attorney was that's what I have always wanted to be as recently as a few years ago, I actually sat for my SAT for the LSAT, because I had grand idea of being a civil rights attorney. But one of my clients, self made billionaire. When I told him that I was gonna go to law school, he said, Oh, Francesca, you don't need to go to law school. Keep on doing what you're doing. You'll you'll make more change that way. And something just switch them I said, Yeah, I think he's right. So I'm that's what I wanted to be when I was little.

Achim Nowak:

Well, I'm struck by that. But I'm also struck that by the wisdom that your client shared with you, that was just, I think, amazing advice. As I follow the story of other trans individuals, what always interests me, what I usually hear is that at a very young age, folks knew that something was not aligned, something doesn't make sense. And I felt like they felt different, but not different in a way that most people feel different, like different in a bigger way. What was your experience of how you felt about yourself your identity as a young person,

Franchesca D’ Amore:

I knew to clearly who I was, who I am. And, of course, time in place. Nobody even heard the word transgender, I have been subjected to it. And I mean, I grew up in Zimbabwe exploitation. So that was definitely not a place for that. So I knew it too. And I definitely knew at nine. And I'll tell you this little quick, funny story. I was in the choir, and my best friend, Angie, she was playing the role of Mary, it was a nativity holiday. And I almost almost almost convinced her into letting the play Mary, thank goodness, she had some sense, because we both would have had the bejesus slap for her bright red lipstick. So I really stuck out in the choir. But it was very clear.

Achim Nowak:

Now, in your adult life, I want to just briefly talk about your professional choices before we get to your more of your trans journey. But I'm struck that you talked about wanting to be a lawyer, but you went to your hairstylist, you got involved in the wellness industry. You very briefly and you and I spoke about this ended up working in Boston for a pharma company which I intrigues me because it doesn't seem to fit the rest of the profile. So I'm curious about that. You. Let's do it this way, when you think of your professional endeavors, and I want to invite you to tell us two story one, if you think of a moment, professionally speaking where you want, while I love doing this, this feels right, this feels great, but also tells the story of what you were doing something and we all have those where we're in a job and something going, Why the hell am I doing this? I need to get my butt out of here. Can you just describe those, those opposites?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

So I worked in corporate America with three major corporations. And although I learned a lot, I was like, What the hell am I here, I have to get out of here. So corporate America, and that structure was not for me. So since 1996, pretty much I've been independent, and independent contractor except for a year and a half with a pharmaceutical company. Ironically, I've been a doctor's assistant remotely for the last couple of years. And I feel for me, that's a stream of the wellness arena. And it allows me to understand the human body more because I have to do research to do the research for the doctor. So it pays the bills nicely. So that's a good thing. But I'd say 22 years ago was when I really realized that my walk in life is to channel healing. I hate to say I'm a healer, because that's a little bit too egocentric in my mind. I became more open to become a vessel of healing. I delved into Reiki I became a Reiki Master. I started learning numerology, I met with some of the best psychics in the United States. And they all told me the same thing. What are you doing on that side of the table? You need to be on this side of the table? Yeah, time after time after time. And I'm like, okay, universe, I get it. So, um, then I got certified to learn how to do angel card readings. And that was really great. And I've been doing that ever since and just kind of putting my life experience together and channeling messages to people. And that's what I call my Holistic Life Coaching. Yeah, I don't do what regular life coaches do. We're taught that you have to kind of like hold the person's hand and let them come to things. No. You know me. And I'm like, I don't want to waste your time or money. I'm getting right to the point with you. And I guess because I've gone through so many things in my life, I'm able to speak to a lot of different people. It's just called mirroring, you know, to communicate with people. So, I'm, I'm actually honored that the universe chose me to do this kind of work. And I really channeled it in hairstyles for humanity as well. And that was a divinely inspired idea. At the time, I was living a pretty cushy life in a beautiful condo on the water infinity pool, four days a week of work. And I went to go see a movie, beyond borders with Angelina Jolie. And my partner at the time, we were sitting there and I've said this before in interviews, I felt as if my brain was zipped open. And this lightning bolt went into my brain that said, you need to start hair stylists for humanity right now. And you need to go to homeless shelters and start channeling healings through hair cutting and the crown chakras. So I look up I got a you kidding me? I mean, it was so clear that this is an unlike Oh, really, my life is so great right now. But it started crying and crying and crying and they knew that's what I needed to do. So my ex was like, why are you crying so much? And I'm like, I can't tell you right now. I'll tell you. That night I went home, I incorporated hairstyles for humanity got a board together. Two weeks later, I was that a feeding place off Broward Boulevard, with lines of people cutting hair out in the hot sun. And I'm like, Okay, God, use me. You know, this is not where I thought I'd land. You know, I could be a little bougie sometimes. And then I just started, you know, just going domine domino effect. And from there, I started going to homeless shelters. And then we started recruiting hair stylists who were living in homeless shelters. And it was a really great experience for me, but it ran its course. But that's what really taught me how to respect everybody in life. Yeah. Because I heard stories that were unbelievable stories. So it was an honor to be able to be in that situation. Yeah.

Achim Nowak:

Now as I'm listening to you, and I'm putting myself in maybe in the shoes of some of our listeners who listen to the podcast, somebody might go well, I I admire how Francesca seems to get messages very, very clearly and she has the courage to follow through. I also want to receive messages more clearly. But my messages don't come as clearly to me as they they seem to come to Francesca. From your experience as a healer and a life coach. How, what would you say to a person like that?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

Well, I had to do a lot of work before the messages are really channel then I had to do a lot of housecleaning with the Reiki I have to learn how to not be codependent in the third dimension. And I know we have enough problems here on Earth, why would you invite other worldly problems into your life. But I think I can handle both right now, which is actually kind of good. I would just advise the listener to start with just you know, YouTube is a great resource to listen to meditations to open your heart chakra to open your chakras. And you know, our chakras are energy fields throughout our body and outside of our I started really with that and doing the work and working with the angels and the Archangels that's how I've done it and that's how I I teach people to do it. Really, it's all about getting somebody to learn how to self heal. No self love self healing. That's super important in life. That's what we're here for, I believe. Mastering self love.

Achim Nowak:

Yeah. You You mentioned that wonderful story of being nine years old and thinking you should play Mary Mary.

Franchesca D’ Amore:

still mad about it?

Achim Nowak:

Can you give us a sense of your formerly began to transition at 45? So there's a lot that happens between nine and 45. How How did you learn more about I'm going to call it your female self or the self that are you who you really are? How describe that to us?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

Sure. So when you're a trans person, so the way I am now is how I always saw myself obviously younger when I was nine years old. So my brain works that way and clearly aware that my body is not a female body. So it causes a lot of confusion. Within you know, you have this push and pull within yourself. It's a really chaotic experience. In between those times, I did try and express my, my feminine side as much as I could. But I come from a very religious, Italian family. And it was a no, no. So I have to go through different routes of expression to finally one day at 45, I said, You know what, I've attempted suicide. I don't want to go through this anymore. And I knew I was gonna lose my family. And I did for five years. And it was heartbreaking. But I did have to put myself first because if I didn't, I would not have continued with living. That's that torturous of the state? Yeah, so thank God, we, you know, we reconciled, and it's been four and a half years, almost five years. And we're closer than ever. Because it's like, this is really who I am. You don't have to go. reference those last past references of who you thought they should be to make you comfortable, or making you happy. And I think a lot of a lot of it is that we live in a binary world and people are very attached to their gender identity, and understandably so. We have our people, I can understand that. But there's a lot of educating that we still need to continue doing so that people can be more understanding and receptive towards the trans community.

Achim Nowak:

Now when when you decided to transition and go through the process of transitioning, for me as a sis man, as an outsider, that just sounds like a long process, a hard process, a difficult process. What can you tell us about what just that journey was like, after you made the decision to formally change?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

I was very quick about it, because I really knew what I wanted to do. So before I transitioned, the only way I could express my feminine side was to create what people thought was a character but it was really me trying myself out. So her name was Miss finesse. asked Miss finesse. I interviewed a lot of a list celebrities on red carpets. I've been on CheckFree, South Florida, reviewing as a food reviewer and I actually want for their 10 year anniversary, best review or during the whole 10 years alongside with Paul castronova and Bailey, the carpet guy. So, we had a special like feature session, and it was pretty amazing. But that was the only way that I could start putting myself out there. And also through entertainment, which I have a huge background in theater, film, all sorts of stuff. So and 45 was like, it was the perfect age, I think, you know, I had thought about transitioning when I was in Boston and my 30s. But I just was not ready to lose my family. I wasn't mature enough to handle that. I really loved my family, like real love my family. And I knew this would happen. And I guess I had to wait to prepare myself for it. You know, that's the only explanation I have.

Achim Nowak:

What kind of support like emotionally did you have during the process if your family was not able to be there for you?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

My one sister who lives in Colorado, she happens to be gay. Her and her wife actually were supportive. But I have to say, my friends were so amazing. You know, I might have lost just a couple of friends. But the majority of my friends stuck through this with me, and they were there for me. And they supported me and they loved me. And I have to say without them. I don't know how successful this transition would have been. Because we all need somebody to love. And I hear other stories of other trans women that don't have support and they lose most of the people in their lives. And it's devastating. It's horrible. So I'm really grateful that I have those friends who I'm still friends with today. We traveled together, we see each other. We do stuff together. It's I'm grateful

Achim Nowak:

I'm wondering, because you talked about how, once you decided to go, it was like the I'm going to do it, it was clear that you weren't committed to doing it. And you had friends who supported you. But as you are going through the journey, what were the biggest surprises for you that maybe stuff that you had not anticipated? where you went, like, Shit, I didn't know this was coming. You know,

Franchesca D’ Amore:

I think the biggest surprise was being a woman. And I was really about being attractive as much as I could be. And it's understandable. Being so objectified by men. And by society was really interesting. It taught me to understand women who have been doing this their whole life in a whole different light. My emotions were off the charts. I was like a second puberty. second puberty. And I went boy, crazy. My brain was crazy. And I'm like, Look, I'm a 45 year old woman, up until 50, to seven years of, of Cucamonga in my head. And I couldn't help myself. You know, somebody would say, Oh, you're pretty, I've been really good, like, so silly, like a school girl. You know, and I know that I'm mature, but you can't help yourself. You're almost like, watching a B rated film. You know. That was kind of that was interesting. But I think the most interesting thing for me was that this journey was more of a spiritual journey, than it was a physical journey. I really have come to terms with my life, I'm calmer than I've ever felt, I'm more spiritually grounded than I've ever been. That was my biggest surprise.

Achim Nowak:

A word from your sponsor. That's me. I invite you to go to the website associated with this podcast www.my, fourth active.com, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups were cool people figure out how to chart their own for tax. Please check it out. And now back to the conversation. Now, I did not follow you on social media. So and we've we've met, of course, social a little bit. So my impression is that you clearly state that you're single, but you wouldn't mind being in a romantic relationship. Is that correct?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

That's absolutely correct. Yeah. My boy, crazy thing was, I dated a lot just dated a few short term boyfriends. There was a different experience, because I think we come here also talk experience ourselves through other people. Yeah. So I experienced myself in a completely different role in a completely different way. And it was kind of overwhelming. So the last few years, I've just kind of stepped back from it. And I get approached, but I'm not gonna settle. I know what I want. And energetically, I can't let anybody into my energy field. As far as music goes. So that's, that's not too fun God. But yeah, we'll see what happens. I'm hoping, you know, that I would meet somebody who's my energetic equal, or somebody who just sees me for me, period. We'll see what happens.

Achim Nowak:

So I'm going to just ask a really blunt question, because you stated you're attracted to men. You know, you've been dating straight men, and you've been hanging out with straight men. And where I go as a gay man is. So what's it like when you come out to them and say, I'm a trans woman? What's that experience? Like?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

I have to say, I'm actually really proud of the straight men that I've dated. I would say probably about 70% have been shocked at first. And then they took a beat. You know, if I meet them somewhere, and they asked me out, I'm like, Okay, there's something you really need to know about me. Then I tell them and I haven't had anybody go, Oh, that's gross or get away from me, you know, so that's good. I have been rejected before, but who hasn't in life, you know, it's not and I look at it as the If that person walks away, I think my angels and say, Okay, thank you. You're saving me from some heartache and trying to put on a show for this person. I don't do that anymore. It's like, this is me, what you see is what you get if you like it great if you don't, okay? It's been a different experience. Yeah, gay men and straight men are completely different.

Achim Nowak:

Like, well, I can't resist that opening. So if you had to just identify a few ways in which they're different based on your experience, like what stands out?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

I think that gay men are more communicative. I think, gaming, better interest.

Achim Nowak:

Oh, you're perpetuating those stereotypes friendships.

Franchesca D’ Amore:

But it's the truth. I've been there. I don't I think maybe gay men are maybe a little more front about some things. But those are, I guess, sexually, obviously, things are completely different. Yeah. And I think in my experience, I found that straight man, because I'm a female, are a lot more aggressive towards coming up. I don't want to say coming up to me, but approaching me, let's just say, I have to learn a lot of new things. So how to learn new tricks?

Achim Nowak:

Well, but that's all I had. Because you're you mentioned, it's important for you to be attractive. You are an attractive woman, you are well groomed, you know, you you're not the wallflower in the corner. You know, that's not who Francesca has chosen to be. How do you with a little more maturity? How do you internally handle the objectification that comes because all of us are initially attracted to somebody for physical reasons, right.

Franchesca D’ Amore:

I think at the beginning of my transition, probably for like five years. I want it to be objectified. Because I wanted this attention that I had never gotten before as who I truly am, that makes sense to you. I guess, in a sense, I was objectifying myself. I mean, I wouldn't go to the grocery store without high heels and type pencils. And full makeup and my hair completely done. Now at the grocery store. And sometimes I don't even, you know, paint my eyebrows on me. And I'm just like, This is what this is me, you know, and I just wear yoga pants and a T shirt. And my chunk letters, my flip flops. And there I go. And that's a huge difference. Yeah. Yeah, I don't put myself in those situations as much. I've toned down. Yeah, I've matured, I don't want to say toned down. My look is a lot more mature. And less desperate. Yeah. Because I was desperate for attention.

Achim Nowak:

Well, ironically, I'm thinking that I see you as a very public person you're involved in causes that matter to you. You're an outspoken Trans activist, if I may say that. And, yes. Can we talk about that? Because Can we talk about Safe Schools, where you're on the board and why Safe Schools is a cause that for you as a trans woman is really important?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

Sure. So for me, being a trans woman, and having visibility on boards period is really important. Because I get to sit at the table and have a say, so when things from a trans woman's perspective, Safe Schools, it's, it's my heart, because you know, these young LGBTQ plus kids, especially now with the don't seek a bill that became law. But you know, things are quite different in the school system. So we work with gay straight alliances, and we do trainings, we train teachers, we've been doing that for 31 years, going on 32 years. So it's, I don't want to use the word exciting, but I'm gonna use the word exciting, because it's an exciting time, because we have to reinvent ourselves and work around the system. So it's an exciting in the sense that we get to find solutions to help our youth in the school systems. So we're doing that right now. I was on the Hollywood LGBT Q plus council for two years. And this will be my second year of being the entertainment. I was entertainment director last year, but now that I'm not on the border entertainment coordinator, but I'm doing the same thing. So it's just the change. So yeah, and I also now I'm a committee member on the broad HIV Planning Council. And I wanted to have a seat at that table as well to make sure that for our residents that are trans are getting the help that they need. So it's um, yeah, I love the community involved. It's something I've been doing for 20 something years, and on different arenas in the arts of seven, for theater boards, homeless boards, created my own organization, started a theatre company. I was a co founder. So a lot of stuff I've done, and I love it. I love it. I love it.

Achim Nowak:

Well, I just as you're talking, I hear your passion for I feel like it sounds cliched No. But I'm in a good way for a passion for really making a difference around things that matter to you, which is a powerful thing. Now, you also get very outspoken and public about your age. So you're a 55 year old trans woman, you have hopefully a lot of life left to live. So if we look at the future, because this is the call to my fourth act podcast. And let's do this way, what are some things that you Francesca, if you had a magic wand, which you do, you say I these are things I'd like to do more of. And maybe these are things I'd like to do less of what comes to mind,

Franchesca D’ Amore:

I definitely want to keep on with my advocacy and activist work. This has always been a non paid passion of mine. So I've always donating my time and resources. So I try to do as much as I can. And they did quite a bit of joy I wanted to in the future. I am starting a monthly Reiki slash yoga class once a month. But a good friend of mine who's she's a yoga master. And through me, she was my student and Reiki. So once a month, we're actually going to, we're going to create a fusion of yoga and Reiki for full day to become certified at the different levels of Reiki. Also, yoga, the yoga poses of the yoga ideology is going to help with heart healing, because I feel like everybody is harder needs healing, we are just going to teach, teach our students how to heal their hearts based on our experiences, our tools that we've learned through the years, and also, you know, the divine channeling through us. So that's gonna be something we're doing and who knows where that'll go. Now, we have some students signed up already for January. So that's pretty amazing.

Achim Nowak:

I love the phrase you just use, which is who knows what that'll go because I'm a great believer, and we can't figure everything out in advance. So we start something and then the journey gets revealed as as we're as we step into it. I'm thinking of some of our listeners who are not trans. And they might think something like wow, Francesca went very, very far to be her true self, or to uncover her true self and to fully own it. Our listeners might not be trans, but they might go, oh, I have parts of me as well, that maybe don't have to do with gender identity or anything like that, that I have never fully embraced. But I have Inklings or ideas. What kind of wisdom again, from your perspective of your life journey, but also your professional work as a healer? And life coach? What? What advice would you have for somebody who

Franchesca D’ Amore:

I always tell people listen to your intuition. So I think what I had to learn how to do was to listen to myself, and to actually stop and listen to what my brain was telling me about my body was telling me, a lot of people overcome extreme obstacles in life. And there's a lot of work that's involved. So I would, you know, tell your listeners first, realize you've got some work to do. It's just not going to happen, like thing, and it's done. But the work is amazing. It's hard. But once you get through each topic, it just frees you. You know, it just frees you. So, and also you could go to my website, Guru enlightenment.com. And you could hear more about me read more about me? Yeah, I don't do any advertising. It just happens.

Achim Nowak:

Francesca you're so subtle. I was going to throw it at you but what do you mean you don't do advertising You just grabbed the ball. Good for you did. I did good for you? Just final question, if he were to share some wisdom or guidance with a trans teenager who maybe has not fully faced their trans self, but no that is there. Based on your journey in life, what what wisdom would you have to share with them?

Franchesca D’ Amore:

Actually, it's interesting, you bring that up, because I have worked with some psychologists. And they resume me into a session to speak with teenage trans kids that are going through. And I've also spoken to many parents of trans kids that have been like brutally honest about how they feel. So the one thing I really focus on is I tell trans kids, make sure you understand that everybody around you is transitioning with you. And it's really important for you to be aware of other people and their feelings are valid. And it's important for you to honor that. Because that will make your journey so much easier. And you won't be so Mee Mee Mee, Mee Mee, which you kind of have to be at times. But if you have support, it's important to open up.

Achim Nowak:

I said, final question, but I just changed my mind. Because your answer your answer, made me want to inquire more about your family who was not supportive. But they've embraced who you really are. If you had to pinpoint maybe a moment or something where you were surprised by their behavior, and then coming around what, what stands out for you.

Franchesca D’ Amore:

From the beginning, it was interesting, my mom called me her daughter. After we had been apart for quite a few years, she gets the pronouns muddled. But then again, I, you know, I practice what I preach. And she's an 84 year old woman, and she has her limitations, and she has her things, and I just let that slide. But when we're in public, she always refers to me as her daughter, and is she even at home? So, you know, for me, that's outstanding. She has apologized, what more could you want? I'm very grateful that that, that karma has been closed. And now so. And again, like I say to, you know, young people that are transitioning, be open to other people around you. Because I think, you know, in order to communicate, you have to sit at the table, and listen while the other person is speaking, I guess that and then, you know, return the conversation with your feelings. That solves a lot, a lot of problems and a lot of issues in life period, no matter what you're talking about.

Achim Nowak:

Francesca thank you for First of all, sharing your your personal journey, but also the, the wisdom that comes with it. For our listeners. Again, the website is Guru enlightenment.com. It's it's a pleasure to know you and thank you for the conversation.

Franchesca D’ Amore:

Oh, thank you, Achim. It's been wonderful.

Achim Nowak:

Like what you heard, please go to my fourth act.com And subscribe to receive my updates on upcoming episodes. Please also subscribe to us on the platform of your choice. Rate us give us a review and let us all create some magical fourth acts together. Ciao