On the Cover / Chelsea Leyland
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NYC based, British DJ, Chelsea Leyland, is not going to let her condition define her. After being diagnosed with a form of epilepsy in her early teens and recently ending a tumultuous relationship with western medicine in exchange for CBD oil, Chelsea has become an activist in the Cannabis community and an advocate for epilepsy and medical marijuana use.  Fueled by a lust for life and determination to bring her sister, who suffers from a more severe form of epilepsy, access to Cannabis treatment in the UK, Chelsea is using her platform in the fashion and art world to speak out and raise awareness of the benefits of treating neurological disorders with CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in Cannabis. 

 “I was 15 years old when I was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy,” Chelsea told MJ.  “I was away at a boarding school in England. I had been extremely over-tired and was experiencing light brain blackouts and hand jerks. It was a difficult moment because my doctor wasn’t able to identify the epilepsy at first. My older sister has a severe type of epilepsy that requires full-time care, so the doctor assumed my symptoms were psychosomatic, stemming from my sister’s condition and the anxiety that I had surrounding that.  I was then referred to a neurologist who within five minutes diagnosed me with JME.

Being a teen is hard enough as it is with everything you’re learning about yourself and trying to fit in, and then being diagnosed—that was very difficult.”

JME or Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy is an idiopathic generalized epileptic syndrome characterized by myoclonic jerks, generalized tonic-clonic seizures, and sometimes absence seizures (brief, sudden lapses of consciousness). 

Chelsea was put on various anticonvulsant medications for 16 years before discovering CBD oil.  The pharmaceuticals she had been prescribed, like Keppra, an AED (anti-epileptic drug), would target one issue while resulting in a slew of other serious side effects.

“For people diagnosed with epilepsy you are prescribed these medications and you don’t have a choice. You either risk hurting yourself or you take the medication, and that is how it is presented to you,” said Chelsea. “I struggled with many side effects from these medications ranging from severe anxiety, rage, and heart palpitations to depression and thoughts of suicide. I was emotionally unstable and had trouble focusing. My parents told me that my personality changed after taking the anticonvulsant drugs and I became very aggressive. It was hard to see at the time what was the medicine and what was me.." 

Follow Chelsea’s journey on Instagram @chelsealeyland and be on the lookout for more information regarding her upcoming documentary, @CBD4epilepsy “Separating The Strains.” 

By Brittney Mesica

Creative Direction Dane Diseth

Photography Amanda Bjorn

Styling  Naomi Zinns

MJ Talks Holistic Fitness with Byrdie McCoy


"It’s says I’M HERE and I’M UNAFRAID."

Byrdie McCoy





Interview + Photography by Jennifer Skog

HOW IS HOLISTIC FITNESS HELPING WOMEN EVERYWHERE FIND BALANCE? Holistic health is really about understanding that there is more to fitness than the physical aspect. Holistic health is finding physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fitness. There are so many women who work so hard on their physical body, but not the bodies of their minds or spirit, and those are crucial to achieving overall health. It has to go past running outside or a gym session. It’s about finding balance and peace among these areas and nurturing them so that you can become your highest self.

WHAT INSPIRED BYRDIE'S BABES AND DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA YOU WOULD EMPOWER SO MANY WOMEN?  Byrdie’s Babes was really inspired by all the pain I was experiencing and not wanting to be alone through it all. I wanted to create a space for women dealing with any kind of trauma to come and just be free. So I started free weekly camps. That quickly turned into the health and lifestyle blog so that I could impact more women and inspire them to seek a holistic lifestyle. Now we have signature camps and special events all over the country!

TELL US MORE ABOUT BYRDIE'S MIDNIGHT MEGA CAMP.  ARE THEY CURRENTLY ONLY IN PORTLAND? DO YOU PLAN TO EXPAND?  The camps are what has been coined “Empowerment Camps” for women. It was really important to me to create something that incorporated physical fitness, mental health and community building. I pretty much took what I do on the blog—showcasing the many awesome ways for women to get fit - and brought it to them to experience in real life with real women. These pop ups are about bringing women together in the spirit of overcoming obstacles, embracing transformation, and entering a new day with your sisters!  Midnight MegaCamps start between 9pm and 12am (depending on location), expect to glow under the black lights and have the time of your life. For 2018 monthly pop ups will be touring  Portland and in 2019 Midnight MegaCamps will be coming to various cities across the US!

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO COME TO AN EVENT?  WHAT ITEMS DO WOMEN NEED OT BRING?  Tickets are $25 but I’m always offering special codes and early Byrd Tickets so they usually end up being $10!  I always tell attendees in advance whether to bring a mat or towel so that varies. But just bring a water bottle and get those red lips poppin’! Other than that just come and have a great time!


MJ LOVES A RED LIP, WHAT INSPIRED THIS AS PART OF THE UNIFORM?  Red is just such a powerful color and when we wear it it seems to transform us. We feel fierce and bold and confident; SEEN. So I made it our signature. To showcase our fearlessness. It’s our war paint. Getting healthy is a battle, meeting new people can be a struggle. All these things call for us to put ourselves out there, and our red lips help give us that armor to do so fearlessly. It’s says I’M HERE AND I’M UNAFRAID.