We took time to find out more about this Texas born & bred mini-mogul. Check out our conversation:
Journalist : Introduce Yourself?
A: Goodmorning. My name is Zacharij, but I tend to go by my second last name, Ned. I’m a 27 year old owner/entrepreneur based in Killeen, Texas.
Journalist: Where are you from originally?
A: I was born in Conroe Texas, but I moved around a lot due to my mom being in the US Army.
Journalist: What’s it like growing up in the military environment?
A: Being a kid, I didn’t have much choice when she (mom) would be stationed, or deployed; so it was very inconsistent; but we made the best of things. I met a lot of interesting people growing up & moving so often.
Journalist: What do you now?
A: I do a few things. I run a media-centered blog focused on the artists, news, and overall talent in the Central Texas (& surrounding) area. I also create graphics such as logos, flyers, cartoons, and custom artwork. I manage local artists, & on top of that, I work part-time at a local smoke shop. (R.I.P. Zyrie)
Journalist: What made you want to start your brand, Zipp Squad Productions/Entertainment?
A: I felt the need to give creatives like me an open space they can network, share their ideas/content, and collaborate with similar artists in the surrounding areas.
Journalist: What is there to do in Killeen, Texas?
A: Lots. Plenty of great food spots, bars, etc. We have an adult arcade you can drink at, trampoline parks, parks & rec., clubs, & more. For artists, there are a lot of recording studios, and new stores/venues popping up daily. It just takes exploring and finding what’s right for you in the city.
Journalist: What’s your favorite food spot in your city?
A: Korean Kitchen on Veterans Memorial Blvd, hands down.
Journalist: Where can people find you on social media?
A: Instagram – @zippsquadent / @zsp254 / @ned4zsp
Facebook -Zipp Squad Entertainment / Zipp Squad Productions
Journalist: Any tips to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: Take it one day at a time. The master only becomes so after being a student. It takes time. Don’t rush yourself, and focus.
Journalist: What’s next for the young businessman?
A: Stay tuned, and you’ll find out.
“Cannabis saved my life” By Cannamuscle Russell
Once I learned how to tame my urges, for being chemically dependent on some sort of substance, my life got much better. Sticking to just bud was always very difficult for me. I’m sure very difficult for people who can’t have access to cannabis. so I get it. if I just stuck to weed, it would have saved me a lot of money, heartache, jail, rehabs and part of my sole for over a decade. I was down and out baby on a permanent sick one shooting heroin, Coke and speed until I was homeless or in jail. then Id clean up and repeat the whole process. every time I did that I was super serious about it too. Fully ready to quit. But kept fucking up. Over and over again. Each time burning, bridges and losing the trust from everyone in my life. You know the story? I’m not unique.. after 12 rehabs , shortest being three months, longest was two years, a HUD funded lifestyle of a rotating door to the verge of death, only to get everything back, then throw it all away again. I like to wait till my life got real good then fuck it up.
That’s how I rolled. I was homeless in the mountains still trying to grow pot lol. My priorities were all fucked up, but I knew bud. So I had that going for me. I obsessed over it since I was 15 years old. I just happened to obsess over drugs better and took a fat detour. Bud was always a constant through all that.. growing, selling it to support my drug habit until I got rolled, then lose my place to grow. And place I was staying at.. once all that went away then it was hustle time, no grow, no bud, and in a fat drug habit still. So that’s when pawnshops became my best friend, until they all black balled me.. then I knew I was getting close to the point of jail or some kind of institution. you could feel it coming every time , can’t hide from karma.. and I didn’t… it finally caught up to me hard.
I barely scratched the surface on how fucked shit was. I try not to get into war stories, but some of it is necessary so I can relate with someone else who is going through the same thing. Now I got almost 8 years clean off all that garbage. now I look at my track marks and scars as a reminder and a badge of honor. Thank God I was able to stay alive and stop using finally after a 1000 tries over and over again. With little to no success. It finally clicked after over 10 years of fucking up. was tired of the results so I did something about it. wanting to use drugs never goes away. I’ll tell you that… you just learn to deal with it till that feeling goes away. If I fantasize about it in my head I’m fucked I’ll be getting spun out and doing weird shit in no time so I learn to shut it down in my head. I say fuck that and then smoke some weed then I forget about it. Some days are harder than others so when I’m upset or emotional, I have to be very guarded with my self so I don’t use it as an excuse to go pick up Because I’ll rationalize that shit. It’s an internal battle with your soul, the difference between right and wrong, that devil and angel shit on your shoulders. Once you tell yourself, that’s not an option anymore it’s much easier to have control over that devil on your conscious. just punk his ass and smoke weed . If I didn’t have cannabis in my life, I would not be in the situation I was in. if I’m not growing bud or trying to make the dankest Kush ever, I’m not whole or happy. that’s when things go bad, when you’re not happy, it’s only a matter time before you give in to your vices. purpose gives motivation and drive, find purpose. Focus on yourself and don’t give yourself passes, then you will have eight years before you know it. do what makes you happy , and for me It was growing pot and saving the dankest Kush and exotics on earth, then grow it better than anyone else… this is still my soul focus in life , everything else that comes from it is just icing on the cake . I’ve been growing pot for 22 years and I don’t plan on ever stopping now. I focus on giving back to the newer grower and educating them on my formula and recipe for growing cannabis. It’s been awesome turning grows around for people and getting them some of the dankest pot in the world and only took a few months verse the 22 years it took me to get to the same level. Plus it’s bud they grew and created themselves. It’s very rewarding.
I enjoy giving away all my secrets that took me 20 years to learn and doing it for free for the smaller batch grower , what they learn from me will carry with them for the rest of their life. It’s the foundation for all their grows in the future. Giving back what was given to me was and is the biggest part of my recovery as well as my mission in life. it’s how I got all my knowledge and access to genetics and networking. It all comes down to giving back and not expecting anything in return. Do it because you love it . then just sit back and enjoy the ride. I just want people to smoke better weed and open their eyes to how bud and Kush used to be. It ultimately shows them how bad bud really has gotten. once they try my work their is no comparison to anything you can buy or get… the majority of cannabis out there is not grown like this. A small batch craft grow with proper care and attention will always smash on large scale grow operations. you just can’t do it, it’s not gonna happen. So support your local dealer and your local grower, the buds better anyways. the stores don’t deserve my bud. I get it directly to the consumer with no middleman, small batch craft , first come first serve and a seasonal product. when it’s gone it’s gone , wait till the next one. you can’t rush top shelf shit, that’s the problem with bud now, it’s rushed in every aspect: growing, drying processing, and storage. They be fucking all that up hard. Then they’re all copying each other like it’s dope. Fuck that. step aside and Let Cannamuscle show you how it’s done. I am the muscle of cannabis….
“Doritos Kings against the Vegan Queens”
Dylan Santana is a triple threat force to be reckoned with a path for success
The Latino community is known for their strength, hardworking nature and humility. We caught up with a young entrepreneur and author who is making a difference in his community. Dylan, a serial entrepreneur, is a published book author, a youth motivational speaker and model, all under the age of 25.
“The motivation behind my drive is really God and my family,” he said. “Watching them struggle with what they have already been through in life, on top of me seeing myself go through the challenges in life that I face helps me push myself past my limit.”
His mother taught him the importance of working hard, having good work ethics and to never give up will take you far in life.
“Knowing that one day all my hard work and suffering will pay off and I can say I became a man not that just only my family could look up to, but whoever is inspired by my story, and what’s in Luke 1:37: “For with God nothing shall be impossible’’
Dylan Santana was born in Conn., and grew up, N.C.. Over the years, he traveled to a lot of places like Switzerland, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico . He also spent a lot of time in Queens, N.Y., where other family members lived.
Before getting into modeling, he worked at a variety of jobs. Some jobs were physically challenging and low paying, the work was satisfying and provided him the opportunity to hear amazing stories and get a good perspective on life, God, and the importance of gratitude.
Although he didn’t get into modeling and the fashion industry until later in life, his mom told him he would gradually create and develop his own personal style and demeanor over the years, including an interest in hair and clothing styles. She and others suggested he considered modeling.
He applied to be a model at Charlotte Seen Fashion Week, and was chosen by a designer.
Dylan Santana thinks it’s important to always be prepared for any type of shoot, which he does by practicing runway walks, observing his poses in the mirror, visualizing scenarios where he asks the right questions, and making sure to speak in a proper and professional and business tone. Knowledge of the business part of the industry helps, as does having a mentorship and support from a pro modeling teacher.
“I really separate myself from other models by just being me, and knowing who God made me to become,” he said.
When he’s not modeling, Dylan Santana enjoys spending time with his family, and with himself, but always with God.
“I have to get better with resting though and self-care,” he said. “I worked and sacrificed so much in life for the goals and dreams I have that I struggle with just resting or even just going to sleep easy. That’s one thing I’m trying to get better at: in life you’re supposed to work just as much as enjoying every moment of life outside of the grind.”
Keep up with Dylan on Instagram @the_great_santana_