World AIDS Day: Sharing His Truth & Spreading Positivity with Lionel Moise

Lionel Moise is an Emmy award-winning journalist, an actor, a vegan food entrepreneur (featuring his Haitian culture), and an advocate for destigmatizing HIV. December 1 is recognized as World AIDS Day, and also the day one year ago that Lionel revealed his HIV+ status on his social media platforms – something many of his close friends and family members had no clue about. On episode 112  of Lift U Up: Inspiring Health Stories, Lionel shares the ups and downs of the last decade, why it is important for him to speak up on his personal and professional challenges, and also how health is a key component to maintaining it all even through the roadblocks. 

A Growing Resume

If you asked Lionel Moise how to sum up his entire career, he’d say it all boils down to creating happiness for himself and spreading joy to others. He started that journey out of college at the University of Miami by diving head first into a career in journalism. After anchoring and hosting a number of shows across the country, he demonstrated and grew his knack for storytelling and sharing information. Though he loved what he did on TV news, Lionel sought experience in other spaces too – he’s a multi passionate person, after all! While in between TV contracts, Lionel pursued acting, an interest he had always had, and landed roles on a handful of TV shows. He also found his way into radio at the start of 2020. He didn’t initially think it would last, but it turned out to be his saving grace during the lockdown. He was thrown into a new challenge, storytelling for radio instead of TV, and walked away a better journalist because of it. He says being a reporter for ABC News Radio made him a stronger storyteller, forcing him to use only words to communicate a message instead of images and sound.

It’s powerful to be able to bring a whole new perspective to a field of work. He says, “We underestimate the vast array of skills we develop.”

Finding the Courage to be Real

With all of these new experiences, Lionel is honest about the struggles he faced to get here. To him, being knocked down means we have to embrace it, hustle, and find a way to get to the next step. He lost his father at age 25 and soon after this loss, saw a shift in his mindset. He went from feeling invincible to understanding how precious time is and the importance of staying present. During this time, Lionel was hit with another challenge. He was diagnosed with HIV. Due to the immense stigma around HIV, Lionel chose to keep this new part of his story a secret. He was scared how not only his friends and family would receive the news, but also felt that it could impact his role as a public figure in the media. 

However, one year ago on Dec. 1, 2021 World AIDS Day, Lionel gained the courage to share his story publicly. He realized that as a journalist he expected people to share their truths with him, so he decided it was important for him to live his truth as well. To his surprise, he was met with an overwhelming amount of positive reactions.

A Taste of Entrepreneurship

Lionel’s new appreciation for life and enthusiasm for positivity also led him to be very careful and conscious of how he treats his body. He practices a vegan diet after realizing that he did not need meat and animal products in his life to enjoy food. He wasn’t ready to give up the Haitian food that is a part of his culture. Before long, Lionel partnered with a friend to learn how to make some of his favorite Haitian dishes, but entirely vegan – which isn’t too common in his culture. 
To Lionel’s excitement, the plant-based recipes they developed were a hit. They started Papi Solèy, a Vegan Haitian Pop-Up that brings their food to vegan crowds in the South Florida area and beyond. They look forward to pursuing a brick and mortar location in New York City, continuing their popups and developing even more recipes for their customers.

Today, Lionel continues to pursue his many passions. He’s taking care of himself and showing up as his authentic self in all he does. 

What else can you expect in this episode?

  • The importance of a routine and how it can keep you motivated, even during tough times. 
  • Why he feels speaking out about his diagnosis helps break the stigma around HIV. 
  • Why we all should be showing up for the people in our lives, even if we don’t know exactly what’s happening behind closed doors. 
  • How to be selfish with your time. 

Where to find Lionel Moise and Papi Solèy: