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Homeless turned hero: How a young girl found her home in the Navy


When Janae Sergio was 16, she was homeless and living on the streets of Hollywood, California. Three years later, she would be among the first service members to be forward deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In the meantime, she learned to survive predators who tried to lure her into drug addiction and sex trafficking.

And that’s just the beginning.

Now wife, mother, philanthropist, fashion entrepreneur, social media motivator (with over 150,000 followers – not too shabby!) and Air Force accommodations chief, Sergio reflects on her turbulent journey and credits her ability to survive – and thrive – to reject victimization and embrace a winning mindset.

In his new book, perfectly imperfect, Sergio shares her journey and an unflinching look back at the lessons she learned from each experience, both good and heartbreaking. She defends everyone’s ability to become their own hero.

This positive mindset has touched millions of people around the world. “We can all learn from Janae’s adaptability and courage,” said Gina Elise, founder of nonprofit Pin-Ups for Vets, of which Serio is an ambassador. “His past struggles have not dampened his optimism and possibilities.”

His memoir is an inspiring story of overcoming adversity and rising, yes, heroically – not just in his community, not just for his country, but also for himself. It might be easy to give in when life seems darkest, but Serigo’s mindset is a clear call not to give up.

“No one owes you anything in life. You take ownership of your own life and turn yourself from victim to victor.
perfectly imperfect is now available online.