Turning 25: An Intimate Portrait

I still can’t believe that on this day I turn 25. It’s a mixture of emotions I don’t quite understand yet, but a new age I feel excited to explore. On this day I allow myself to be categorically open. I have never been this open….not ever.  As a Caribbean woman I take great pride in where I come from and so as I carry you on this ride I am honoured to be clothed in my all-time favourite Trinbagonian designers.

On Life

If I was ever asked to use a word to describe myself, I would always succumb to the adjective multifaceted. Growing up, I was always the rose among many thorns having been raised as the only girl in a house with a generous amount of male relatives. The only women I remember vividly being around were my grandmother and mother. I was protected but also exposed to harsh elements. I loved dolls but also adored sports and climbing plum trees with my cousins. I learned from an early age what fearless energy was like because of those experiences. This isn’t to say I am without fear, but I truly believe that my ability as a child to endure rituals involved in being ‘tough like the boys’ have helped me overcome some of life’s most cunning storms. Though those elements of my upbringing have nurtured my growth process, one of my most treasured discoveries was understanding that there is beauty in vulnerability.

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Designer: Meiling , Photographer : Melvern Isaac , MUA: Face By Blaise

 

On Womanhood

Grasping the concept of womanhood was a perplexing time for me. When I was a teenager I associated womanhood with physical attributes like having full breasts, thick inviting thighs and ‘child bearing’ hips. Being a woman also meant being in a serious relationship with a man and moving towards marriage and revolving dreams and aspirations around that formal juncture. Ironically I possessed neither of these and to a large extent I still don’t. Coincidently it was at that time I fell in love with literature. Literature became a sweet escape and brought with it new perspectives on womanhood. Reading books from authors like Charlotte Brontë, Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison and my enlightenment of biblical characters like Esther and Ruth, made me realize how much being a woman has a lot to do with your state of mind, the responsibilities you submit yourself to and the level of respect your presence commands. By the time I entered the last trimester of my crazy teenage years, I was much more comfortable in my own skin; I became relatively numb to the stereotypical pressures and felt safe in being uncompromising with my point of view.

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 Designer: Zad & Eastman, Photographer : Melvern Isaac , MUA: Face By Blaise

 

On Spirituality

I’m a Christian and cannot claim a single earthly title before this. I am not religious but I do not believe I am without religion. Religion is naturally apart of all of us whether we choose to admit it or not. I’d like to think of my spirituality as a curious case of self-progression and my quest then is to constantly mirror the God I serve who is Jesus Christ. Though in recent years Christianity has been plagued with several misconceptions, my intentions are not to glorify these misunderstandings but present my life as a living testament of who my God truly is. My ultimate goal in life is to show others that our lives aren’t a series of enchanting castles, pristine white walls, golden doors and white linen clothing.  In actuality my life, the Christian life, is often a story of old washed out walls , and rugged wooden door frames held together by a deteriorating foundation, planted at the edge of a cliff . Our homes are almost always held together by faith, only sustained by the light that lives within us and beaming through us. It is in this peculiarity that I know that my beauty therein lies in the scandal of my grace.  When people look at me they should see my God.

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Designer: The Cloth , Photographer : Melvern Isaac , MUA: Face By Blaise

On Creativity

I am a strong believer that everything fathomable in my mind is possible in my reality regardless of how ridiculously far-fetched and outrageous it may be. Everything I do creatively surrounds a sound vision in my mind. In my opinion creativity is what establishes the vision. Here is where I find myself wide open and overflowing with colour, perspective and astute intuition. I feel as though my ability to create comes from the fact that I am the handiwork of a creator and I too was naturally born out of the concept of creation, thus I am creation.

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 Designer: The Cloth , Photographer : Melvern Isaac , MUA: Face By Blaise

 

On Inspiration

Inspiration is endless and everywhere. I strongly consider that apart from the love of God it is the only thing we have unlimited access too. I can’t ever find myself being impressed with a person who complains about a lack of inspiration. To inspire for me also means to influence and the two most influential people in my life has and will always be my Grandmother Sybil and my Godfather Chris. My grandmother is the strongest woman I know, her heart is the purest thing I have ever seen and her soul is home to the most unwavering form of majestic light. Through her I was thought how to love unconditionally, forgive freely and that there is great honour to be had from diligence.  My Godfather is my mentor and my life coach, everything that is ethical and morally right I’ve learnt from him. He has nurtured my creativity, encouraged my goals but more importantly he has always believed in my dreams. He fathered me from birth, was my very first earthly exemplar of fatherly love, and as such I never yielded or subjected myself to any wayward search because the magnitude of his love for me kept me full. Now I aim with every step I take in life to do for others what they have done for me.

 MIP_4107-EditDesigner: Meiling , Photographer : Melvern Isaac , MUA: Face By Blaise

 

On Career

Fashion has invaded every aspect of my life. Looking back at where I started and where I am today I am completely overcome with joy, tears and determination. Deciding on a life in fashion has not been the most glamorous and exciting road and has been adorned with sleepless nights, constant battles and a lot of tough love. At 25 I am now the proud owner of my own styling company, I currently run a successful online thrift shop, I am a community contributor for Lucky Magazine and a writer. Being a fashion stylist has brought me immense joy but I have had to make a lot of sacrifices which I still have to this day. I’m not rich and neither am I close to being, I have financial obligations that can be a struggle like everyone else but those problems never outweigh my diligence or my vision. Focus is what drives me. My job as I know it goes far beyond just putting together a random outfit or directing a photo shoot, it almost always incorporates touching the human heart. Nothing ever beats hearing and reading testimonials of satisfied clients who have quoted things like “You’ve changed my life.” I live to change lives for the better.

 MIP_4052-Edit-2-2-Edit-2Wardrobe: Kez , Photographer : Melvern Isaac , MUA: Face By Blaise

 

On Love

Today I am full. The love I have had throughout the years often taking the form of the support and encouragement of my friends and family has been extremely instrumental in my growth. However, there is a love that conquered a great portion of my life a few years ago, he stole my heart right out of my chest and it is a theft that I have accepted with open arms till this day. He opened up my entire being to a new type of love and has giving my life new meaning, he’s conceived within me new goals and instilled in me a new depth of thought. From the very first day I met my Godson ShaQuan I felt an instant sense of responsibility to him. He became my world in an instant and I never knew I could be so remarkably fascinated with such a little person.  I cannot begin to explain what holding him feels like or seeing the delight in his eyes when he receives my gifts. Now at 5 years old he is insanely witty and smart and we are even closer than before. When he looks at me I can tell I am important to him and when that happens, at that point you want to spend the rest of your life protecting that person and their innocence. You want to be their hero and you want nothing more than to facilitate their every dream. I discovered through loving him how intensely hard I can truly love and it frightened me…

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