Shaloma Logan is PurposefullyPretty

Hi! I’m Shaloma, a Jamaican-bred New Yorker. I graduated in the middle of the job recession six years ago with a journalism degree, and went straight into development: fundraising in the non-profit sector. I worked for well-known organizations and began a career in donor relations. I was on a good trajectory towards success. Yet, it was at one of my jobs – and in the middle of turmoil in most of my personal relationships – that I realized I was mindlessly living, day in and day out. I had fun outside of work, between ministry, going out and constantly networking but it was empty. I was always on the grind to build but I was not fully living. Now that my control and esteem had been shaken, I started questioning why I did whatever I did. Do I hustle from a place of fear? Of trying to prove myself on top of my game? Or do I live out of love – receiving freely just to freely give back? My habits and the ones of many I looked up to then seemed self-serving and unnecessarily hard-driving. Simply put, I was tiyad, chile. That juncture was the beginning of my journey of living intentionally.

I began to tap more into God-given talents: writing, artistry, and sharing my with others. I started doing makeup through my company, Shaloma Logan Makeup. I re-awakened my starving blogchild, www.talltalesandfancy.com. I began to forgive. I quit my job, and became vegetarian. I starting traveling on a plane again for the first time in years (the story behind that in on my blog) and explore different career options. I am Purposefully Pretty because I learned how to LIVE. Slowly. The journey of intentionally being is a slow one. Honestly, it’s slower than makes me comfortable. I like things to be done and to be done now. But we all know that microwaved things come out rubbery. So over the last few years, I’ve been marinating. Purpose, empathy and peace have seeped into my value system and pushed me farther than I thought I could be. I am still learning. I encourage young girls to hold onto God, hold tightly to their value and to just be. Real success is living and loving freely.

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Nzinga A. is PurposefullyPretty

Hey there! My name is Nzinga Anderson. I’m 13 years old and the creator and founder of Nzee’s Creations, a company I started in 2013 to save for college by doing what I love: baking, cooking, and making crafty things. Over the years my creativity has snowballed into many different product offerings ranging from personalized handmade cards and drinkware paintings, to baked goods for special occasions/events. It all started in 4th grade when I fell in love with making handmade cards by repurposing things I found around the house. Before I knew it my cards were a hit with family and friends and I started getting requests for birthdays, milestone achievements, and annual holidays. When it was time to name my business my family pitched in to help. We decided to go with “Nzee’s Creations” ­­ a combination of my nickname “Nzee” and what I would be selling: one of a kind,homemade/handmade creations.
Once I entered the 7th grade I fell in love with painting custom designs on drinking glasses ­­ so much so that I introduced them into my product line. I believe that everyone should have at least one piece of glassware that expresses who they are, and by ordering one of my glasses you can do just that! Whenever I wasn’t painting or decorating cards I always found myself in the kitchen helping my dad cook. Seeing the start to finish process of making a meal come together always makes me feel calm. Since my family is Jamaican, we mostly cook traditional West Indian meals. Whenever I want to learn or try something new I turn to YouTube and then experiment! My great grandmother Enid Brown was one of my biggest supporters in everything that I did. Towards the end of my 7th grade year her 2 year cancer battle turned for the worst and I took on the role of cooking her weekly meals. This gave me the opportunity to be there for her in her time of need, and challenge myself to make dishes so unique that she couldn’t pass up taking a bite even when her medication caused her to have no appetite.

Watching cooking shows has quickly become one of my favorite pastimes. Not long after I began watching them, I fell in love with baking and cake decorating. Pastry making provides me with another way to express my creativity, have fun while challenging myself, and make people happy! To date I have gotten orders for birthdays, housewarmings, casual get togethers, business events, cast and crew celebrations and more. One of the most rewarding parts about baking for others is their reaction once they’ve seen how I’ve made their vision to come to life. As a self­taught baker I have learned to be patient, build in time for things to go wrong, and not be so hard on myself when I’ve tried my best but the outcome isn’t what I expected. As a full­time student and someone with sickle cell anemia, it is very important for me to know when it’s time to stop for the day and start over/resume tomorrow.

Sickle Cell Anemia is a blood disease that I was born with and most people don’t know I have. The disease causes my blood cells to be crescent shaped which makes it harder for them to pass through my blood vessels ­­ sometimes causing them to get stuck. When this happens I experience intense pain that can last for a few hours to a few weeks. If it is weeks (which has happened) I have to be hospitalized until I am pain free. Thank God my sickness has been controllable and I don’t have to be hospitalized too often. I usually don’t talk about my diagnosis because I don’t like people to feel bad for me or make me feel abnormal. Even though I have Sickle Cell Anemia I am a normal person and can do the same things as everyone else. I’m 13 years old and have made many accomplishments ­­ some surpassing those twice my age. I’ve spoken as a panelist at an entrepreneurship conference, landed the cover of my local newspaper, had my artwork annually featured in the Make‐A‐Wish Foundation calendars, and most recently was named a finalist in Optimum’s essay contest ­­ winning an iPad mini, speakers, and tons of Optimum swag.What makes me purposefully pretty is my drive and ambition to succeed. I am a young female entrepreneur who knows what I want out of life and works strategically to get there. I’m using my talent of art, cooking, and baking to save up for college by doing what I love. It’s not easy to balance my business and remain an A+ student, but when I hand everything over to God and let him take the wheel I feel less stressed. Whenever it gets hard and I want to give up, I remind myself that God didn’t bring me this far to only bring me this far. In the words of Tony Gaskins “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs.”

Alicia John is PurposefullyPretty

AJ

I wanted to be a lawyer since the age of 12; I remembered in junior high school we had a debate about the death penalty. After winning, I knew the courtroom was where I belonged. What I didn’t know was, what a tough journey it would be.

 I was raised in a two-bedroom apartment occupied by 9 individuals, including myself. Privacy was virtually non-existent. As a result, I spent most of my time in the library or after hours at school so I could get my schoolwork completed.  I realized at a very young age I was different from my siblings.  I was on a quest for knowledge and moving my family out of Brooklyn, while they were learning how to survive the borough’s mean streets.  My siblings often teased and taunted me because I was always reading or writing in my journal.  They would tell me I sounded too proper and I belonged to the wrong family.  I was ostracized and spent a lot of time alone as a child because of my different views and values. As teenagers, my siblings were engaged in delinquent activities and neglected their obligations in school.  Their deviant behavior led to a road of self-destruction, which included dropping out of high school.  Their lack of dedication toward school only fueled me to be even more focused on succeeding in order to set an example for my younger brothers.

Coming from a family of nine, it was instilled in me that education was the only outlet to a successful future and escape from a tough urban neighborhood.  My parents migrated to the United States from Guyana in order to provide their children with a world of opportunity, something they did not have back in Guyana.  My Guyanese roots have taught me that hard-work, self-motivation, and determination are the key elements to succeeding in life. I have always carried these values with me and brought them to everything I did.  In my culture, I have also realized that many of the women in my family are dependent on their husbands.  For example, my mother was in the beginning of her career, when she gave it up to become a stay-at-home mother.  I watched as my mother and many other women in my family gave up their dreams for their families and husbands.  My mother and aunts have always encouraged me to be better than they were and fulfill my dreams. My family’s history is one of the reasons I’m pursuing my legal career.  I am going after my dreams because many women in my family were not able to achieve theirs.

While in college, I discovered my main reason for wanting to go to law school, to help juveniles. I became involved in several community service projects, including community rebuilding and youth mentorship. I wanted to promote the importance of education amongst juveniles and prevent them from the self-destruction that my siblings faced. While working at the Achieving Independence Center (a non-profit center that provided assistance to children in foster care), I was introduced to a whole world of individuals who had been forgotten most of their lives. As a result, I created workshops geared towards rebuilding/loving oneself.  As a mentor, I reminded my students that education is the foundation for success.  My experience at the center made me realize that I wanted to study public interest law to become a child advocate and help create policies/laws that would provide children in need with proper care and educational assistance; as well as rehabilitation programs that would deter crime.

As a child, I wanted to become a lawyer because I had a strong passion for helping others. But I later discovered that my motivation for pursuing a legal career was to help bring awareness to juveniles and the hardships they faced. My journey to law school was anything but easy. You see, I did not come from a family of lawyers and doctors. As such, I had no one to really lean on or talk to about the process. My parents did not quite understand why I was stressing out about taking the LSAT or why I spent so much time studying. I did not have the financial capability to hire a tutor or attend a LSAT prep course. My preparation for the exam was all self taught and using resources I found online. My first time taking the LSAT did not go so well, my score was way below average and I felt it was not high enough to get me into law school.  Once I received my score, I remembered what my brother told me and started to believe it to be true. My spirits were shot, my fight was gone, I figured I could just keep my current job and hope for a promotion. Although, I received a very low LSAT score, I still decided to apply to a few schools in hopes that they looked at my overall portfolio and not just my LSAT score.  But no school did, I received four rejection letters. At that point I figured I should just call it quits.  But something in me would not let me quit the fight! After a month of feeling discouraged I got back on my feet, I reached out to family members, friends and co-workers and asked if they wanted to donate money towards getting a tutor. I was able to raise money for two sessions with a tutor. It was not much, but it was better than nothing.

The next time I took the LSAT, I felt better prepared. The tutor was able to teach me tricks and certain skills that I did not know before. With the tutors help and my non-stop studying, my LSAT score went up 10 points. I was so happy, although, it was not the score I desired, it was a comfortable score to get me into a law school. I applied to a total of five schools and got accepted to two and wait-listed at two.

I decided to attend North Carolina Central University School of Law because of its historical context and all the great reviews I heard from alumnus.  After two years into law school, I’m happy to say I made the right decision.

Taylor Alexis is PurposefullyPretty

I’ve always felt connected to the quote, “When madness takes its toll, please have exact change” but I wasn’t 101% sure why that was. Now that I’m 26 I’ve found that reason and I also believe that I finally found my lane, my voice and my purpose.
 Nurtured by my grandmother for all of my life, I’ve always wanted to create and help others but I didn’t know in what way I could pull that off. Fast forward to furthering my education, I attended Penn State University where I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Accounting. A subject I thoroughly despised. I knew that my heart was in marketing and that’s where I needed to be. I thought to myself as I was crossing that blue and white stage, how am I going to do this? I had no idea what I was going to do and I didn’t have a plan, although I knew for sure that I wanted to be in the marketing world. I told myself after landing my first job at a law firm as a Compliance Analyst that this is only temporary as I figure out what door I was going to break down. In the meantime, I started my blog, Taylor’d World in an attempt to let off some steam.

 After months of writing down my frustrations in life and preparing for interviews for entry level marketing positions, I finally snagged a Brand Marketing internship at a Plastic Surgeon’s office. An odd way to break into the beauty industry but a foot in the door nonetheless. There, I assisted in developing marketing campaigns for new client leads and creating social media content for their different brands within the company. During this time, I was extremely tired because I was still working at the law firm at nights but more than ecstatic to be doing what I enjoyed during the day, which was creating.

 Life will always consist of many plot twists and challenges but trust me when I say, it’s about how you handle it. Any time I go through a rough patch in life, I always think back to December 26th 2009, when my life was spared by the grace of God in a hair salon. On Taylor’d World, I wrote about how much my life changed after that. I began to complain less and laugh more after looking down the barrel of a rifle. I wasn’t the same person. I was no longer satisfied with being “okay” in life. I wanted more. I was born again but somehow in between that time I fell deep into the hole of self-doubt when a medical issue arose.

During this time, I was diagnosed with vasculitis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of your blood vessels. For two years, I would deal with swollen ankles, extreme fatigue, weight loss and many red bruises on my legs. I didn’t want to go outside during the summer nor did I want anyone to see my legs, as I was ashamed of being so young with a condition as such. At that time, I was no longer working for the Plastic Surgeon’s office and I put Taylor’d World and my dreams of marketing on pause. I thank God every day for my support team who continued to help drive out my fears of not being able to make it.

 In a few months, I landed another position at a nail polish manufacturing company where I got back into social media marketing and I eventually rebranded Taylor’d World. I wanted to take matters into my own hands to show the marketing world what I could do. Instead of just blogging about whatever artsy fartsy thing that crossed my mind, I decided to start a podcast as a further extension as to who am I. The Taylor’d World podcast features myself and sometimes a few guests to discuss art, music, pop culture and social issues on a weekly basis that’s available on iTunes, SoundCloud & Stitcher. Because full circle moments happen every so often, I tie my number one passion, music, into my show with themed MixTay playlists every Friday.

While working on growing my podcast, I’m currently in the process of writing a novel about a woman’s 384-day journey of finding love through the word “no.” However being the machine behind my podcast has given me the confidence to say exactly how I feel about any topic and the courage to share the creations from my heart without second guessing myself. I’ve found my way to reach out to my listeners and connect with them on levels to make them feel like they aren’t the only one going through these issues. Knowing that either my podcast episodes or my playlists helps to change someone’s mood makes my heart warm and pushes me to continue the cycle of creating and sharing.

When my vasculitis entered remission I realized that, I was no longer afraid to dust the ash off of my soul and goals to fly again and that’s what I want to share with young women everywhere. I’m Purposefully Pretty because I am not afraid to start again. I’m Purposefully Pretty because I won’t let a setback define who I am. I’m Purposefully Pretty because I had exact change (and then some) for the madness that came my way. I am Purposefully Pretty.

P.S. The name is Taylor-Alexis. 🙂

Shamara ‘Star’ Cox is PurposefullyPretty

Shamara “Star” Cox, 28

I remember at 18 I had a dream that I gave birth to a baby girl and named her KarmelRose. Now 10 years later I am the Owner of KarmelRose Production Inc. It seems surreal. Me, an entrepreneur? The same woman who grew up in the hood in the Bronx, NY and had no thoughts of going to college? But God had another plan for my life.

I fell in love with television shows at a really young age and at 7 years old I declared that I would own my own channel. I remember being laughed at, but here I am now laying the foundation for an interactive network that creates lifestyle content in digital, TV Programming, and Programmatic Events. My network will serve as a platform to tell the stories of men and women and revolutionize/uplift positive Black images. We have adopted the slogan “FUBU: For Us By Us” where YOU create content that is just for YOU. I love telling stories. I was published twice in the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans – once in elementary school and then another in junior high school. By high school I wrote full-blown stories in composition notebooks and my friends loved it. By 16, my best friend’s father wanted me to write my stories for television. Although the stories were never picked up it opened my mind to infinite possibilities. By 24, I produced and directed two short films, to shed light on Black Self Hatred, that both played in film festivals.

I did not always feel this powerful. I was depressed as a teenager and used my stories to escape the realities of life. I felt unfulfilled, voiceless, and I felt like I did not matter in this world. I remember crying in college with pills in my hand ready to end my life, but God stopped me. In 2015, I was faced with a difficult decision to save me or die, but God said, “Choose to live.” Now I stand here passionately living in my purpose.

 I am Purposefully Pretty because everything that I do and everything I create empowers, inspires, and makes a difference. Under KarmelRose Production, I host monthly Tea Parties to empower women to live their dreams and make a difference in their community. I am producing a talk show – Wine & Whine – an all female cast that covers controversial and fun topics that matter to women. I am also producing a theatrical performance – eVe Monologues – that celebrates the strength and beauty of women. I am launching a non-profit, KarmelRose Foundation, to provide Post Scholarships to college graduates in order to pay off their student loans. The vision for the Foundation is to provide financial literacy and relief in order to inspire men and women to pursue their purpose in abundance. I urge you to think about your contribution to society. Your mind is filled with ideas. It is time to start walking in your purpose. Be so contagious that everyone who comes in contact with you will receive your power!

Asha B. is PurposefullyPretty

 

 Asha B. has worked for AMC, BET and most recently Media Information Services. However it is through her journalism and documentary work that she is widely recognized. Asha has a passion for storytelling and has done so via platforms like Her Agenda, Teen Vogue, Madame Noire, VIBE, the NBA.com, Carib News and several others. In May of 2014 Asha graduated from Agnes Scott College with a degree in International Relations. While attending Agnes Scott, she took on several leadership positions and served a two-year term as a student member of the Board of Trustees. She is a two time award winning recipient of the college’s Sara Glendinning Journalism Award. Asha currently serves at the President and CEO of Passion Fruit Vineyard Productions where she oversees all pre, post and current production services for documentaries, The Dinner Table and A Time Before Kale. 

Endeavors that you are working on: 

 1) The Dinner Table Documentary – The Dinner Table provides healthy images of women of color through an engaging five part documentary series. We also offer workshops that aim to inspire and empower high school and college students while providing media literacy and self esteem building resources. In 2016 we plan to host a “Let’s Do Dinner” tour where we will host dinners in New York, Atlanta, Mississippi and several other US states.  

2) A Time Before Kale- A Full length documentary and photo project that highlights gentrification in Brooklyn. Made in homage to Jamel Shabazz’s A Time Before Crack to showcase the culture of Brooklyn per-gentrification. This project is currently in production. 

Something that you overcame: Most recently I overcame my fear of letting people down. I have a really big heart and one of the obstacles I face is constantly feeling like I owe everyone who crosses my path something. In 2016 I made a vow to set boundaries for myself. Too many times while trying to help others I end up spreading myself too thin and burning out. This year I plan to help others but do so after making sure that I’m centered and where I need to be (mentally, physically and spiritually). Once I feel whole, I can help others more effectively without trying to do too much. 

What makes you PurposefullyPretty? I think it’s my passion and love for what I do. More than anything what makes me purposefully pretty is my reverence and respect for God’s authority in my life. Not until I gave my heart and soul to him completely did I begin to truly walk in my purpose. In him I found my purpose, happiness, trust and a love that I can’t compare to anything else. I am purposefully pretty simply because I shine as a mere reflection of God’s incredible glow. Through his work in me I pray that others feel that love and light and are blessed. 
 

Amirah J. is PurposefullyPretty

Hey everyone! My name is Amirah Jones. I’m twenty-two years young. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa. I also lived in South Jersey for a few years. If anyone would have told me that I would have accomplished as much by this age, I probably would not have believed them. I’m truly blessed. My whole life my family has been my number one support system. They’ve always believed in me, my dreams, and encouraged me to never give up.    When I was in high school, I knew for sure I wanted to move to New York and become a fashion designer. I took a design class and realized it was not for me, at all. The business aspect of fashion is what interest me more than anything, so that’s what I decided I would get involved in. Four years later, in May of 2015, I graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Merchandising and Management. College is not for everyone but I’m beyond happy I made the choice to go. It was definitely a life changing experience. I would not be the woman I am today if I had not gone to college. I worked full-time and did extracurricular activities all four years. There were countless nights I didn’t go to sleep and where coffee or Redbull were my best friends but it was all worth it in the end. During my college career, I was able to study overseas in China, work at New York Fashion Week, meet a bunch of amazing people, and learn beneficial information that I can apply to the fashion industry. I’m currently in the process of applying to graduate schools to pursue my Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing. I just love school! I believe being a well-rounded individual and knowing all aspects of fashion is essential to being successful in the industry. In the near future, I plan on starting and running my own fashion label. My brand will consist of women’s apparel, with merchandise giving off an “edgy chic” look. To me, the clothing in my closet gives off that vibe and that’s what I want to bring to the world. My brand will be catered to women aging between 21 to 35 years old, with good quality and an affordable price point. Women like myself, who are taller than the “average” height, will be taken care of as well. I will make sure I provide petite, average, and tall lengths in pants and jeans, since a lot of brands fail to do so. 

   Two months after I graduated I decided to make my dreams come true and move to New York. This had been a dream of mine my whole life, so why not make that dream come true? I saved up a lot of money in a little bit of time. My best friend already had an apartment in New York with an extra bedroom, waiting for someone to move in, so it was pretty much meant to be. I’m a city girl, so I love the hustle and bustle. If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere! I knew I’d miss my family and friends but New York is the fashion capital; somewhere I needed to be to pursue my career in fashion and do what was best for me and my future.

   I started my own blog called Lookinthemirah. “Be Fashion. Be Creative. Be Free.” is my motto! When it comes to fashion, do whatever makes you happy, look good, and feel even better. Don’t stick the norms; just do you. My blog consists of fashion, beauty, music, poetry, and a host of other topics that I enjoy writing about and I hope people enjoy reading. Ever since I can remember, I have had a serious shopping problem. I just love having options to choose from when I’m getting dressed. I also always enjoyed helping my friends put together outfits for different occasions, which inspired me to start my blog where I put up various looks that I come up with. The posts include where you can find each piece of merchandise, something similar to what’s in my look, and what type of occasions you could possibly wear it to. By being consistent, networking, and getting my name out there, I’m working on growing my brand for the world to know and love.

   Something I’ve overcame is comparisons. For a while, I was not happy about where I was in life. I had false hopes that I would get the job of my dreams right after graduation, which did not quite happen yet. I was discouraged. I felt like I was not doing enough to change my situation. I would see many people doing great things and I wondered what I was doing wrong. I have had people tell me how proud they were of me but I wasn’t proud of myself. One day, I finally stopped and realized how far I’ve come, the amazing things I’ve accomplished, and how I still have so much in front of me! There’s no need for me to compare myself to anyone. Everyone grows at different paces. I’ve been placed on this Earth for a very special purpose. Pressure makes diamonds so anything I’ve been through was just to make me stronger and keep me pushing to change the world in a positive way. 

   What makes me PurposefullyPretty is that I always hold my head high, no matter the situation. That’s one thing my Mom-Mom has always told me that I will hold on to forever. Everything happens for a reason so I learn and grow from each experience. When you really want something, it will not come easy. God has never given me anything I can’t handle so I know with my faithfulness, ambition, and perseverance, I’ll be nothing less than successful. I have a big heart and a beautiful soul so I hope to be an inspiration to show young girls and women all around the world that ANYTHING they want out of life, they can go get it!
Lookinthemirah.com