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A Life Worth Living

Amidst a battle with anorexia and   depression with an unforeseeable end, Angelo Thomas came to find his purpose. Not only as a film student at CCAD, but by becoming the voice of those who had endured a similar struggle. In May, Angelo debuted To A Life Worth Living, a cathartic short film documenting his [...]



Amidst a battle with anorexia and   depression with an unforeseeable end, Angelo Thomas came to find his purpose.

Not only as a film student at CCAD, but by becoming the voice of those who had endured a similar struggle. In May, Angelo debuted To A Life Worth Living, a cathartic short film documenting his experience with anorexia and ultimate receival of treatment, and then this fall, followed up with a young adult novel based on a similar character.

“The whole thing started my sophomore year of high school, so it went on for four years,” Angelo says of the beginning stages of his condition. “Throughout that time, there were a lot of people who would notice and say something. I was really stubborn and in denial about what was going on and I just refused to do anything about it.”

Despite his guilt, it was Angelo who realized that he needed to make a drastic change that would ultimately save his life. With friends and family members alike noticing his gradual emaciation, Angelo admits that his weight loss also put a damper on his mental wellness.

“It’s really important to be open about what you’re going through and that’s what I’m trying to encourage people to do. The goal of the documentary wasn’t to go viral or to get a certain number of views, it was to reach out to those people who would need it, and I think that’s what it’s doing.”

“The eating disorder totally changed who I was. I was really depressed all the time and not a nice person. A big part of it was because I wasn’t eating a lot at all, so I was kind of drained,” he says. “I was obsessively counting calories and I lost the weight really quickly. I was 210 pounds and I went to 99, so it was a lot of weight loss pretty fast.”

Angelo’s battle with anorexia soon crept from his high school years into becoming a student at CCAD. With friends continuously seeing that Angelo was withdrawn both physically and mentally, he decided to seek treatment during his sophomore year. However, Angelo was faced with initially being declined admission during a phone call with The Center of Balanced Living in January, as his weight was considered too low.

The woman I was talking to saved the biggest question for last and that was, “what is your weight and height?” he begins. “When I told her, there was a silence on the other side of the phone for thirty seconds. She was like, ‘I’m sorry but there’s nothing we can do for you.’ That was horrible to hear.”

After being referred to emergency residential and inpatient treatment centers in Cleveland and out of state, Angelo contemplated whether he would have to drop out of school. Motivated to still attend CCAD, Angelo began gaining weight on his own, just enough to start treatment at The Center of Balanced Living. He started by being in a partial hospitalization treatment for five days a week, six hours a day for an entire month, later moving to outpatient therapy once a week.

In retrospect, Angelo knows just exactly what caused his body disorder.

“It came from depression and I think being gay was a big part of it, too,” he says. “The things that I know about eating disorders and statistics, it is more prevalent in gay men than in straight men and I think it’s because of certain societal standards. I was really overweight the first couple years of high school, and I felt like I needed to be thin to be accepted.”

After his time in treatment, Angelo found that his journey was compelling enough to create a short documentary, thus spawning To A Life Worth Living, which he originally made as a film class final. In the film, Angelo’s close friends and family members—even his former therapist and dietitian from The Center of Balanced Living— recollect their experiences with discovering that Angelo had anorexia and his treatment process. His twin brother Andrew speaks on coming to terms with Angelo’s weight loss, and close friend Madison reveals that she had anorexia at the same time as Angelo. Shortly after releasing To A Life Worth Living, Angelo went to Evolved on Summit to get the words “life worth living” tattooed in script form on his forearm. The message isn’t just a reminder for him, but for thousands of viewers of the short film, with whom Angelo’s story has resonated.

“It’s kind of crazy how many people have reached out to me. The National Association for Anorexia reached out to me and a lot of people have messaged me on Facebook and Instagram who have gone through similar things,” he says. “It’s really important to be open about what you’re going through and that’s what I’m trying to encourage people to do. The goal of the documentary wasn’t to go viral or to get a certain number of views, it was to reach out to those people who would need it, and I think that’s what it’s doing.”

Since then, Angelo has returned to CCAD with his first young adult novel in-hand. The Incredible Jake Parker, released September 3rd, is based on fictional pop singer Jake Parker and his rehabilitation from anorexia.

“It felt like a natural progression from what I did with the documentary. I thought, what else can I do with this?” he says of the book’s beginning stages. “I did want to tell my own story in a book form. Representation is a huge deal, in books and film. It wouldn’t be realistic for me to make a feature-length film right now, so a book was something that was more feasible.”

With encouragement from his brother, the novel was spawned. While Angelo admits that The Incredible Jake Parker was originally contrived as a screenplay, he does foresee an expansion of the novel, propelling into a series and even film.

“Sometimes it’s hard to remove myself from it and not just make it my story. The book is written in first-person, so putting myself back in that headspace was interesting and challenging,” he says. “I had some difficult days, especially towards the beginning, trying to get myself into that mindset and think about the things that were going into my head early on in the recovery process. So much of it is internal. People who are depressed or having eating disorders, they don’t do a great job of showing their emotion and what they’re thinking on the outside, I think it was important for me to tell it in first-person and let the reader get inside their head.”

Angelo also hopes to expound upon the after-effects of treatment, as reality settles in once patients adjust to their new lives. “There are some new challenges that come with gaining weight and accepting your new appearance that I’d like to address in another book,” he says. “You still deal with the same thoughts; it doesn’t just go away magically.”

With 25 percent of book sales being donated to National Association of Anorexia Nervosa (ANAD) and another 25 percent being donated to Angelo’s treatment center, he’s fully prepared for Jake Parker’s story to match the present climate of his peers.

As the character of Jake Parker faces societal pressures of dealing with fame at a young age, Angelo based his novel on the triggering of eating disorders. “I know a lot of people who have eating disorders and that’s their life—they just live with that,” he says. “A lot of people just don’t understand the value in going to treatment and seeing professionals in that kind of intervention. My experience at the center was life-changing and I wanted that to be a part of Jake Parker’s story.”

For more on Angelo’s story, you can view A Life
Worth Living
on YouTube. The Incredible Jake Parker
is available on Amazon.

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Arts & Culture

Thinking Big: The Amazing Giants bring circus arts to events across town




If you have been to a local festival, parade, or corporate event where you’ve seen stilt walkers, fire-eaters, hula-hoopers or lyra artists, there’s a good chance you’ve been in the presence of an Amazing Giant. Founded in 2011 by Jessica Minshall, The Amazing Giants was born out of one woman’s love of stilt walking and her friends’ desire to learn the skill. Now a new challenge is looming for the group—a business expansion to Hawaii.

Working in the service industry, Minshall saw a need in Columbus for a different type of entertainment. She taught herself how to walk on stilts for a festival gig out of state. This new hobby intrigued a group of her friends, and they decided to learn, too. From there, The Amazing Giants were born. “My partner and I bought a lot of stilts and just taught people how to do it,” she said. “We all found each other.”

What began as a few friends learning a new skill and having fun together practicing it evolved into a booming business with 40 employees and contract workers, including magicians, face painters and more. They are hired for events to do everything from wearing full bodysuits covered in tiny mirrors and dancing to wearing and serving champagne from large metal skirts to dazzle a crowd.

“We have evolved with different equipment, too,” Minshall said. The Amazing Giants owns the only sway pole in the Midwest. It allows performers to create a large- scale spectacle with an extreme cirque-style pole acrobatic act without the need for a permanent installation. With hundreds of costumes, 20 pairs of stilts, and entertainment offerings of just about every circus art imaginable, The Amazing Giants truly seek to astound.

Having had great success in the Columbus market, Minshall decided to grow her business, and recently brought The Amazing Giants to Honolulu. “I had family out here that I would visit and realized they don’t have anyone doing what we do. There’s not really a group or team of stilt walkers working together,” she said. So Minshall bought six pairs of stilts, and hosts open gyms where interested performers can show off their skills and possibly train on stilts. “They don’t need to send me a resume, necessarily,” she said. “It’s about personality and talent.”

Importantly, Amazing Giants must have an abundance of confidence without an overabundance of ego. “I tell people we have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. As an entertainer you have to get over your shyness and put yourself out there.” The ability to work as a collaborative team player is also key, she said. “Our team often works in tight quarters, and whether or not it is well-received, you have to put on the show as best you can.”

Although Minshall is keeping the headquarters in Columbus, now headed by Chief of Operations Olivia Ranier, she says she is excited about the expansion and her recent move to Honolulu. “It reminds me a lot of Columbus because it has that small-town, big-city feel with a similar {\(metropolitan area) population of around one million people,” Minshall said. And the environment is ripe for her type of business. “In Honolulu, we have events year-round; in Columbus our business slows down after New Year’s Eve,” she said. “There is also a lot more tourism and a convention center that brings in a ton of people.”

Although her business has expanded, don’t for a second go thinking that Minshall is going to forget where she comes from. “A lot of times people ask me where I am from and they say, ‘Wow, I’ve been hearing a lot about Ohio lately.’ I have nothing but good things to say about Columbus and what kind of platform it’s given me. It’s a massive city with a thriving arts and entertainment culture—and it’s extremely underrated. I will be Columbus-promoting forever.”

For more information visit

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Big Macs and Bowl Games: Enter McDonalds sweepstakes for college football getaway

614now Staff



Now that Ohio State has secured its bid to play in the 2019 College Football Playoffs, every fan across Columbus is vying for tickets to the Bowl Game. Lucky for you, McDonald’s has the answer.

Today, McDonald’s launches their Buckeye Bowl Game Sweepstakes in partnership with Ohio State Athletics, where one lucky winner will win a trip for two to the 2019 Fiesta Bowl Game on Saturday, Dec. 28, including prime tickets to the game, transportation to and from, plus hotel and travel accommodations.

Fans can enter the Buckeye Bowl Game Sweepstakes by purchasing a Quarter Pounder or Quarter Pounder with cheese from any McDonald’s in the greater Columbus area, either in restaurants or through their favorite delivery service. With each order, customers will receive a golden ticket with entry details, leading them to the sweepstakes website.

And the best part is for every submission placed, McDonald’s Owner/Operators of Columbus will donate $1 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, helping them meet their annual fundraising goal.

“For McDonald’s, and for those of us as local business owners, it’s about more than selling burgers. It’s about creating a lasting impact in our community,” said Mike Telich, Columbus McDonald’s Owner/Operator in a statement. “Supporting RMHC is more than just a donation, its ensuring families with ill or injured children get the emotional and physical support they need, as well an alternative to the financial burden of staying at a hotel and going out for meals."

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Oh Snap! Local photo studio helping bring Columbus’ imagination to life

614now Staff




We can only count on our memories to preserve moments so much, and word of mouth can only get us so far. Sometimes, a message needs to be captured with a shutter and presented with an image.

At Zurïe Studio you can bring your imagination to life and preserve special moments in one beautiful place at a reasonable price. The space features a sun-soaked studio and clean aesthetic, allowing the subjects of your photos to command the screen without distraction.

The studio also offers paper backdrops, stools, and minimal props to amplify your project, mini session, or photo shoot. All outside props are welcome, too, with a loading dock to make setup a breeze.

Speaking of mini, (614) Kids Club has teamed up with Zurïe to offer a FREE Family Holiday Mini Photography Session! Join us December 7th from 10am-Noon at Zurïe to have your picture snapped by LA + Co Photography.

This event is open to the public (as long as you get your ticket in advance), but (614) Kids Club members will receive:

  • (614) Kids Club Members get to skip the line
  • Two digital prints of their minis – for FREE

Click here to learn more and reserve your spot!

Whether it's head shots for the office, new products you want to promote, a creative vision that keeps you up at night, or just trying to get one nice picture of your family acting like the love one another, Zurïe is passionate about the people of Columbus, and will work with you to create something beautiful and memorable.

Zurïe Studio is conveniently located at 3477 N High St. in Clintonville, directly behind the new Katalina’s. They are open 8am- 5pm every day by appointment. To learn more and book your rental, visit

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