Matthew Sampson: The Sneaker King

Portrait by Tony Ward of Matt Sampson, the sneaker king
Matthew Samson. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022



Text by Matthew Samson, Copyright 2022


The Sneaker King


Sneakers to me are more than an item of clothing. It’s a way for me to express myself. I’m never the most outspoken person in the room. It’s often my sneakers that speak for me. My love of shoes started at a young age. My grandfather would send me a pair once a year. Upon his passing, I had a pretty nice collection. Unfortunately with his passing so did my love for shoes. It was many years later I met my friend Herb Simpson. His exact words to me were “You’re a good dude but you need better shoes”.  The next day he came to work with the newest Jordans for me. With that one gesture, the love for shoes was back. For a while, I would often run my purchases by Herb. If he approved I would purchase it. I eventually developed my style and direction. My collection started as only Air Jordans. I branched out to Adidas, Reebok, Fila, Puma, Vans, and Asics. If I felt it was nice I got it. Like many people during the pandemic, I had a lot of free time. So I decided to try something different. I began recording YouTube videos about sneakers. I did vlogs of me shopping in stores. I also did reviews of the newest sneakers. Things started to pick up for me during that time. With the notoriety from my videos, I began selling shoes. It started slow but I became everyone’s sneaker connect. Sneakers have allowed me to do things I would’ve never thought of. From traveling to different events, being on podcasts, modeling for K.Vaughn, and now even being on the cover of Tony Ward Studio. In closing, if you have a passion, no matter how big or small follow it. You never know where it might take you!


Portrait of Matt Sampson the sneaker king by famed photographer Tony Ward
Matthew Sampson. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022.


About The Author: Matthew Sampson is a full-time father of a wonderful 16-year-old daughter who also loves shoes. He recently started creating content in 2020 and posting to IG and YouTube. Matt also has become the sneaker connect for multiple people in Philadelphia. You can his sneakers for sale on his Instagram sampson_matt_. Feel free to reach out if you need items sold as well.  This is Matt’s first contribution to TWS.

Matt’s YouTube channel:

Editor’s Note: Matt is wearing a KVaughn scarve, Winter collection. Photographed at the Rittenhouse Grill in Philadelphia on November 27, 2022.

Shanell Verandez: A Musical Journey

Text by Shanell Verandez, Copyright 2022


Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022


Assistant to Photographer: Anthony Colagreco


Creative Director: KVaughn


A Musical Journey


Hola, My name is Shanell  and I am a “Jane of All Trades and Master of None”. I have dabbled in almost every Artistic, Academic, Athletic and Spiritual endeavors one can possibly expose themselves to. I feel blessed to have an open mind and heart to be able to comprehend what I am absorbing from different kinds of people, places and things.
Most of all, Music has been one my favorite artistic endeavors, it runs through my family’s bloodline literally….I started when I was 6yrs old in Elementary school with a Music Aptitude test that I passed with flying colors which enabled me to receive an instrument of choice. My music teacher guided me to a room filled with instruments. It looked like a treasure chest! I wanted the Cello, they didn’t have one, so my teacher suggested the violin, but my arm length was too long.  So ,she finally introduced me to the Viola and the start of my ongoing relationship with that instrument began.
Then in Junior high school came another desire to play another instrument, the Oboe.  Once again, another unavailable instrument, but the teacher brought out an elegant beauty, the French horn. I was baffled because I had never seen this instrument before, so the teacher instructed that I had a week to blow one note in that instrument or move on. This instrument was meant to be mine, because by the end of that week, I got the note( a high C) and another musical relationship began.
I have another relationship with an instrument we all take for granted, the vocal cords. My singing journey began in a Baptist church set in a row house in the Historic “Black Bottom” section of Philadelphia. Most of my family was either in the choir, playing the drums or organ as well being a member on the church board. I had the chance to sing solos that were taught to me by my Aunt. Later on in life at High school I was singing in the bathroom stalls with my friend and we didn’t realize that there was another person present until she knocked on my bathroom stall and asked me to come out. She was a vocal teacher and an active Opera singer that had an interest in me becoming her student. I started studying with her and it turned out to be a very powerful  relationship out of my musical “ménage a trois”. She guided my vocal career throughout the years( high school and college, beyond).
So one would wonder… What is holding me back? I would point the finger at those who didn’t believe in me and tried everything in they could to block me, but no, I need to get past that pain and realize it is me holding myself back. Why? It is because I have really terrible stage fright and I have to believe in myself more and become more centered. The very thought of becoming more focused and centered within myself has inspired me to take another step and start writing songs, here is one I would like to share with all of you, the song is Titled …
                   ” Soul Centered “
                     Sittin’ on a Whim
                    Just Wastin’ Time
                     Feel like I’ve Lost
                           An Oasis 
                    Traveling thru Time
                    A Rush of Feelings 
               To Get Up and Get Mine
                        Soul Centered 
                    Is where I want to be
                         Soul Centered 
                    Is where I want to free
                    Different but Familiar
                             From Afar 
                  Sometimes it makes me
                     Wonder why you are
                     A Touch of Brilliance 
                     Growin’ From Within 
                  I’ve Trekked on Somethin’
                   Different why it’s a Sin
                          Soul Centered 
                     Is Where I Want to Be
                          Soul Centered 
                     Is Where I Want to Free
One Day I will be able to perform this Song during my Music Journey… Peace❤️
Editor’s Note: This is Shanell Verandez first sitting with Tony Ward for the Vixen’s series. To see all of the work to date from the new series, click here

Megan McGory: Essence


Text by Megan McGory, Copyright 2022




So, what am I up to these days? Sexually, of course.

 Who am I as a woman, a lover…someone who knows herself in a way that is shaped by my past.

This question is deep and substantial, but let’s focus on the present. The satisfaction of knowing my desires and needs and being able to obtain them is something that many never achieve.

So here is a little of me.

Let’s talk of “simple pleasures” which are not simple in any sense. Having my lover against me, so intense, their scent, the quite whispers, giggles and moans of pleasure as we enjoy intimacy and connection. An experience reached by opening one’s mind and vulnerabilities to their partner. To allow myself to open this way can only described as “next level” and goes well beyond sexual actions.

Toys are something that are always a part of my fun. I have a convenient spot where they are kept in a box that can be locked. Even big girls need a toy box. Inside is an expansive collection of playthings, so many that sometimes I forget a few. When away from home, there are one or two hidden away for use in whatever situation may arise. Creativity…solo or otherwise is always welcome. 

I am a tease. Leaning in and quietly suggesting scenarios that cannot be played out is appealing. Sending pictures at times of the day when it is genuinely distracting makes me giggle. Texting suggestive ideas, building on it and abruptly ending the conversation? Not me! Sharing that, “My fingers were between my thighs a few minutes ago.” when out for a meal or in a public place achieves such pleasing results. Sharing one of my sexy written stories and knowing exactly the response it will create warms me up in all the right ways. Mentioning in passing that, “I’m not wearing panties.” or saying that, “I want to get on my knees and linger there for a long, long time.”  This is who I am.

Porn, naughty stories and “dressing up” are things I incorporate into my days and nights. Spontaneity should not be overlooked. Sliding my hands up a shirt or down past a waistband in a dark corner of a public place? Yes please.  Climbing on a lap in a car. What surface of the house is yet to be explored? How about a public restroom? Always ready for the challenge. A quickie on the kitchen counter? How fast can my panties drop??? Tie me up, spank me, cover my eyes and surprise me!

 Treat me like the Vixen that I am.


About The Author:

Meg is a tenacious person. She has a lot of interesting life stories and likes to challenge herself by learning and trying new things. She is an excellent cook and baker. She can make and decorate elaborate cakes.  Health and fitness are a part of her lifestyle. She bought and is living in a foreclosure which she is making her own room by room. She is certified to teach pistol because she believes a woman should be comfortable defending herself. She enjoys hiking and is completing a certification in personal training. She is a badass 50 plus year old woman living life to its fullest. 


To read additional articles by Megan Golwitzer, click here


Kemo Chen: All Men Are Poets

A book of poetry by Kemo Chen
Muscular Poetry by Kemo Chen, Copyright 2021

Text by Kemo Chen, Copyright 2021


All Men Are Poets


I never met a man who wasn’t a poet.

All of us are inside. There are feelings, images, furies wanting to emerge, awaiting a creative spark that sets them afire.

I found that spark after years of suppressing it, afraid of saying what was on mind to myself , mostly. I had no great design, but, had notebooks in boxes , of thoughts, opinions, and notions of how the forces had taken me away from whatever, I was or wanted to be , to this here and now.

Still a working man, with bosses and boundaries , that remained in the politically correct corral , I elected to inhabit a pen name, so I could write free, full throated and uninhibited. And, I called it Muscular Poetry, not about the flowers blooming, unrequited loves, the usual ebb and flow of relationships , in arcane passages, deciphered by other poets , not mere mortal men.

No, my collections are about what it is like to be  man. A man who sees the world in different shades of light and gray and white, and sometimes black, and at other times, with the darkness that comes from deep within where light emerges sparingly.

Words are both sword and shield.

The great beat poet, Michael McClure, famously offered,

“Poetry is a muscular principal, there is no logic, but sequences of feelings”

And all of these feelings are for you, in an era when compliance substitutes for truth, where more is canceled than added, and the minority view masquerades as the majority will. Up is down, down is up , and two plus two equals five.

Muscular Poetry is about the inner journey to find the best of ourselves, sometimes at great cost and loss. It defines the vagaries of the essential struggle to achieve , love, overcome adversity, and find some peace of mind.

It is poetry , declaring, you are not alone, unless you want to be, and knowing that either way, that choice is the essence of your free will. If there is bliss out there, it is as much a birthright for all men as is , fortitude, courage, and grit.

I write to encourage you to write, and create. For no one but yourself. It is more than amusement or therapy, it will embolden you, knowing you have something to say that defines the purpose and meaning of your life.

There is a poet inside you, face him, and he will set you free.


Portrait of the author Kemo Chen
Portrait of the author: Kemo Chen 2021.

About The Author: Kemo Chen is a journalist, adventurer, contrarian, and street corner philosopher. He has rubbed shoulders with moguls, Presidents, Prime Minsters, and fighting men from the Golan to Chechnya. He’s traveled from Xinjiang to the caves of Qumran. An advocate of all men finding themselves and realizing their potential. An avowed enemy of the obvious.


Muscular Poetry is now available on Amazon! Link here


Riza Oliva: Sex And The City

Portrait of Riza Oliva for Homepage cover of Tony Ward Studio
Riza Oliva. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2021

Text by Riza Oliva, Copyright 2021


Sex And The City


Before Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max, I would turn on my T.V. and watch a group of bold and promiscuous women taking over the Big Apple doing things that men would have been praised for. Instead women in society receive negativity and backlash for the same actions like dating multiple people, let alone having sex with them. My take on the subject is that people should be able to explore their desires when they’re single until they find someone who fits their lifestyle.

Imagine Sex And The City happening in this current generation. The generation of technology with Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, Bumble, and all the other dating applications right at the tip of your fingers. Wouldn’t that be a wild new twist in the series? I feel like I have lived my own “Sex And The City”. Dating in my 20’s during this generation in a big city was an adventure. I didn’t do too much swiping but social media had played a big part of me meeting people. After I became a model, my confidence grew but my perspective on dating also changed. I used to be that girl who was always in long relationships. One advice I would give any individual in their 20’s is to not settle down so quickly. I think being able to live your life and finding your wants, needs and most importantly finding yourself is so critical in life. But back to my dating life, my DM’s were pretty interesting and comical. I still have no idea what the fascination is of some men wanting to send random women dick pictures without even saying hello. It must be the confidence people have behind the screens. I don’t think I have ever publicly spoken about my dating life but I definitely received messages from athletes, artists, exes, childhood friends, and even people’s fathers. I was not one to really entertain a lot of people but I got to meet some really interesting characters in my own show which my friends and I even had nicknames for. I won’t kiss and tell so I will not be naming anyone in this article, I’ll bring those secrets to my grave.


About The Author: Riza Oliva is a professional photographer, actress, model, business owner and mom based in Philadelphia. To read contributing writer Katie Kerl’s interview with Riza Oliva, click here: