Complexd Women

A day in the life of cosmopolitan women around the world

COMPLEXD WOMAN: SHERICE MAJOR

Name: Sherice Major

Age: 26

Occupation: Writer

Place of birth/Current residence: Nassau, Bahamas/NYC

I was born and raised in The Bahamas. My father is Bahamian and my mother is Jamaican. I have not visited Jamaica yet, but I’m a Caribbean woman from tip to toe.

I started my entertainment blog SheSoMajor in 2009 while I was a college student in New York. I simply stumbled into the ‘blogosphere’ as a way of keeping myself entertained throughout the summer. As it developed into more than a summer fling, my biggest challenge was trying to convince people that ‘blogging’ is a full-time job and it has become a massive industry.

Its tough work, it’s competitive and its 24/7! I love the business of entertainment, so researching, writing and getting the scoop firsthand is such a big thrill! Knowing that I reach thousands of people who are just as thirsty for the latest news in the entertainment industry as I am, keeps me on my toes. Sometimes it can be a double-edged sword because I have a platform that informs, entertains and sways so many people, so its imperative that I make sure my facts are right. Trying not to be slanderous or libellous is a lot of pressure, but every time I need a bit of motivation, I find it in a message, phone call or even a random person on the street telling me how much they love my blog.

‘Nothing in this world can rival a woman’s determination and her persistence to survive and succeed’

This ‘lil ole blog’ has allowed me to converse with movers and shakers in the entertainment industry. But it’s not just meeting influential people that motivate me, it’s the readers in countries around the world checking out my site. SheSoMajor has made it possible for me to have a job that doesn’t feel  like work!

I am a ComplexdWoman because of my strength.

Check out SheSoMajor blog here

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EDITOR’S DIARY: LIFE AFTER UNI…

In these hard time, graduating is not an entry ticket into a great career. I remember my ‘after graduation’ plan so clearly and although I am doing what I set out to do, I took a completely different route to get onto that path. While you’re waiting for your career to take off, it’s important  to remember that patience, perseverance and hard work eventually pay off!

Joanna Fowles (L) and Debbie Vesey (R)

Around this time last year, I visited the graduate exhibition of my friends Debbie and Jo who studied Textile Design at Chelsea College of Art in London (see post here). Sometimes the best way to get a more realistic view of life after university is to speak to graduates a year or two later. I had a one-to-one with Debbie and Jo to find out what has happened after their robing ceremony.

Debbie Vesey

Where in the world are you Debbie?

I’m living in Berlin and working for a German manufacturer that produces rotary and digitally printed textiles. They are the largest manufacturer of printed textiles in Europe and the biggest digital producers in the world.

My Berlin Office

 Word is you designed the print for this Zara dress?

Buy dress here

I did! In my job it is important for the designs to be wearable and commercial. This print was inspired by the dresses in Prada’s 2012 summer collection. I wanted to create a similar effect in 2D with a distressed layered feel.

So how has life after Uni panned out?

The first six months were hard; you lose confidence in yourself and question whether your opportunity will ever come! I feel really lucky to be doing what I love and living in such a conceptual city for design, my job is really diverse and I get to travel often. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming!

Joanna Fowles

How is life in Sydney and how did the Hand Dyeing workshop with Joanna Fowles come about?

I moved to Sydney the day after graduation and my life took a completely new direction. It was no longer about being in a fast-paced fashion career, but about growing organically and being true to my heart. I left Sydney in 2005 so it’s taken a while for me to reconnect with the city again. I’ve been networking with a lot of people I knew previously who now work in fashion or creative fields and I was very fortunate to be offered a shared space with three other creative girls who all do exciting things in design, theatre, television and textiles. Having my own space to create has made a huge difference and it has allowed me to work on my freelance textile designs and commissions. Some of the lovely people I have met along the way put me in touch with Harvest Textiles in Melbourne who offered me a residency at their print studio to host a dye workshop in September. I am really excited about it and it has led to another exciting opportunity to host several workshops at stylist Megan Morton newly launched The School, which offer creative tuition classes led by creative’s in Sydney. Things are starting to grow in an organic way and that’s the way I wanted it! Now I just have to focus on getting my own range of scarves into production!

My studio in Sydney 

Oh! Your own range of scarves…how do you design those?

My design process 

I guess I would describe myself as a digital craftier so I’m interested in the process and discovering something new along the way. Mark making, happy accidents, geometric’s and abstractions are elements that I return to again and again. I never tire of using inspirational artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Ellsworth Kelly as an initial starting point in my work.

So how has life after Uni panned out?

It’s a strange feeling leaving the cocoon of the nurturing creative environment that university offers. I really didn’t want to leave. I have to admit that this year has been a massive transition and adjustment, trying to find my feet, move country, become a stepmother to two children whilst keeping my creative identity and career plans in the process. Finding work teaching at University was a brilliant opportunity, I find it inspiring and rewarding. I also get to attend lots of interesting lectures, which is a real bonus. I am now planning my visit back to England to pack up my bags and move permanently back to Australia and I can say that I feel excited that so much has happened in a year.

Follow Jo’s journey here  

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: LUBICA SLOVAK

With Style Week Jamaica and Caribbean Fashion Week, Kingston is fast becoming the fashion capital of the Caribbean with the addition of a new fashion event called The Collections sponsored by Audi.

The exclusive event will take place at Wyndham Kingston poolside and Kerry Manwomanhome boutique on 14th and 15th of June and will debut three collections including Complexd Woman Lubica Slovak who was featured in our Island issue on page 24-25.

Lubica took on an active role as Executive Producer in the making of her first fashion film ‘BEYOND’, directed and produced by Nile Saulter and Storm Saulter – renowned for his role as director in the celebrated Jamaican movie ‘Better Mus Come’.

Organisers and event management duo Kerry Ann-Clarke and Kibwe McGann plan to make The Collections an annual event and if you can’t make it to Jamaica you can catch up with the action on Lifestyle Caribbean series Splash, which airs on Black Entertainment Television (BET) and Centric TV.

We also couldn’t help but notice another Complexd woman Make-up artist and DJ Loni L. Jones (featured on Complexd web/blog) will be spinning techno beats on the night and with a strong team of Jamaican influencers and Complexd Women behind this event we look forward to reporting on the success of their opening night.

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: ARLENE MARTIN

Complexd Woman Arlene Martin featured in the 2nd Anniversary issue (page 72-79) will be one of the designers opening the showcase of designer collections tomorrow at Caribbean Fashion Week, now in its 12th year.

Featuring regional and international design talent, Arlene will be showing her latest DrennaLuna collection inspired by Jamaica’s indigenous birds and butterflies as a tribute to her homeland, which is celebrating 50 years of independence this August.

Continuously inspired by Jamaica, there is no doubt that Arlene creates at her best when her designs embody the simplicity of Jamaican life. Her earthy palettes represent the richness of the land, while her stand out pieces express the vibrancy of its people.

We met Arlene at the Caribbean Collections exhibition in London and got a chance to inspect the quality of her choice of fabric and precision of her cuts. Although they lay their roots in Jamaica her designs transition easily into an international market and we are extremely excited about her plans to make her pieces more accessible.

The Complexd team is eagerly anticipating her next collection and if the previous collections are anything to go by, she won’t disappoint.

www.drennaluna.com

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: ALEX MAZEROLLE

Alex Mazerolle founder of Girlvana featured in the Complexd Women issue on page 24-29. In this video she talks about her passion for Yogo and how she aims to empower teen girls and young women though Yogo, meditation, fashion and healthy living and encourage them to celebrate who they are!

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: TIFFANY EDWARDS

Name: Tiffany Edwards

Age: 36

Occupation: CEO & Founder of Jawels/Jewellery designer at Swizz Beads

Place of Birth: Lausanne, Switzerland

Current Residence: Kingston, Jamaica

I was born in Lausanne, Switzerland to a Jamaican mother and African-American/Swiss father. We were among the few black families living in the area at that time so growing up there was a very interesting experience. My upbringing taught me how to approach the world differently and because Switzerland has three main languages I am fluent in French, German and Italian.

It was my Jamaican heritage that inspired me to set up my dental jewellery business Jawels. Coupled with my father’s knowledge as a Doctor of dental surgery and my creative flare we came up with a unique and fun concept that went down very well on the Jamaican party scene and in the entertainment industry.

Our formula is that we offer professional dental fitting and high quality stones and crystals while ensuring the constant delivery of new products with professionalism, precision and punctuality. Like most new start-ups, it took a while for Jawels to take off, but having a degree in Marketing and Public Relations was definitely an asset for both my business including my newest venture Swizz Beads.

‘When it’s dark enough you can see the stars’, is a Persian quote I always remember when things get challenging and I always appreciate the experiences and opportunities I have had, such as working with the likes of Rolex and the world leaders in synthetic stones and Swarovski crystals.

I believe the most importance aspect of life is not just being a woman. It is going through the process of getting to know yourself. I am Complexd because I know who I am and I am unique.

For more info on Jawels click here

 

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: DEVON BROOKS

Devon Brooks a ‘Complexd Woman’ we love, entrepreneur and London College of Fashion Alumni, (who graduated alongside our Editor Kered) was recently featured on MSN.com as one of Canada’s top young entrepreneurs.

Profiled in Complexd Magazine’s Summer issue back in 2010, Devon introduced her business concept Blo – a blow dry bar that aimed to combine high-end hairstyling with convenience and affordability.

Since then Blo, has franchises in 21 locations across North America, created hundreds of jobs and caters to thousands of women. At just 25, Devon is an entrepreneurial tour-de-force and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation’s youngest ever mentor and G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit representative. Last month, at Science World in Vancouver, she shared a more personal story about her experience with violence and gave her TedX talk on ‘igniting a culture shift around interpersonal trauma’.

She has been travelling from coast-to-coast presenting compelling content on topics like personal and career growth, brand, culture, leadership, igniting action and ‘keepin-it-real’. She’s has some new concepts brewing and we can’t wait to see what’s next!

If you want to inquire about booking her for a speaking gig, contact her at devsdevelopment@gmail.com. Find our more about Blo – blow dry bar here

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: JANE HAYES

Name: Jane Hayes

Age: 30

Occupation: Jane Hayes Consulting

Place of birth: Australia

Current residence: Melbourne, Australia

 I was born in Australia but come from a strong Scottish heritage. I travelled a lot as a child so caught the travel bug from an early age. This combined with a keen interest in people led to visiting countries in Europe, the Middle East and USA and eventually setting up my own image consultancy business where I get to work on a personal level with all different types of people.

My personal style is a fusion of Australian and overseas influences, I like to describe it as edgy femininity. I love combining vintage, high street and high-end pieces with accessories that date back to the 1930s. I’ve always had this obsession with making things and dressing people so I enjoy offering personal and corporate styling advice and taking my clients on shopping tours. With my background in marketing, advertising and business I co-founded a project called The Spirit of the Black Dress, and the inaugural exhibition launched at Melbourne Fashion Week in 2009. The aim of the project was to help promote sustainable Australian fashion and textile design. The criteria for choosing designers for The Spirit of the Black Dress are varied but entrants must be Australian labels in their first five years of practice. We look for labels that abide by our sustainability criteria, such as use of sustainable fabrics like bamboo or organic cotton or ensuring zero waste pattern making and use of reclaimed fabric or green energy.

‘For me an Australian presence in New York, London and Milan is the ultimate goal’

Our project has developed through the years and now consists of a runway show, fashion film, fashion and textile exhibition and a magazine and it has become one of the top events on the cultural program for The L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival. Australia has amazing design talent from couture to street style, alternative design and ready-to-wear, both emerging and established.

 

They all deserve to be recognised by the rest of the world because of the great designs they are producing which is why supporting Australian fashion designers is a key part of my role. I help designers maximize their talent and assist them with business developments to help them reach the next stage in their career. The opening gala, which we put on for designers, gives them exposure to influential industry professionals, the media and the general public. For me an Australian presence in New York, London and Milan is the ultimate goal.

Find out more about The Spirit of the Black Dress here

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: DELLA THIELAMAY

Portraits by Frederique Rapier 

 Name: Della Thielamay

Age: 27

Occupation: Entertainer

Current Residence: London

I am Mauritian, Chinese, Indian and French. My diverse heritage meant that food, language and my general cultural experience has always been very rich. I have many memorable moments of dinning table experiences with family speaking over each other in French, Creole and English. It’s as hectic as my daily life where an average day does not exist.

I’m a singer who loves singing gospel music and a pianist who dabbles in acting and commercial modeling. I love performing and I am grateful that I get to do what I love on a daily basis, I feel fulfilled and in control everyday, but sometimes the industry removes that sense of sureness.

Shoot for Getty Image 

I am mixed raced and when I go to castings seeking mixed raced models, the stereotype is always light-skinned black girl hopefully with an afro. The industry in the UK isn’t as up to speed as it is in America where they do celebrate ambiguous ethnic mixes. There have been many times where my heritage has been a hindrance, but I am proud of my Mauritian, Chinese, Indian and French heritage because it makes me pretty unique.

Portrait by Carly Billing

I suffer from Crohns disease, which is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease that affects my energy, diet, digestion and has very severe symtoms. I champion for the National Association for Crohns and Colitis as often as I can and hopefully with raising awareness and fundraising I will help thousands of others as well as myself. To avoid attacks I try to stay positive and led a stress free life. I strongly believe that by making the decision to choose a career that I love, it has helped me to cope with living with Crohns. My main aim is to be happy and pursue my long-term goal of becoming a Musical Director.

Shoot by Getty Images 

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: NIKI ROBERTS

Name: Niki Roberts

Age: 30

Occupation: Director/Producer

Place of birth: Washington DC

Current residence: New York

I’m a diverse mix of African-American, first nation (Black Feet Indian) and Irish. I grew up in a musical household and the arts are very important in both of my families. My eldest cousins used to play the piano at Julliard for Judy Garland before she passed and my grandfather managed screen movies and renowned musical acts in a time when African-Americans didn’t have that kind of access because of segregation. I grew up hearing those stories when I was just a little girl and it has inspired me greatly.

My business partners and I were at a bar one night somewhere in New York, and over drinks, we said, ‘hey let’s just start a company and make movies already!’ Once we began to go out and about and actually make films the company and concept started to grow and since then we have joined forces with another company based in New York that does viral media content.

Our most successful film was ‘Out of the Darkness’ staring Jessica Andres about a troubled teen fighting her own demons after the accidental death of her infant. ‘Out of the Darkness’ has been around the world and back on the festival circuit and was well received at the 64th Festival de Cannes 2011. We’ll be at Cannes again this year with another project that I had the pleasure to direct called ‘Botes al Amanecer’.

I believe that there is a season for everything, even for when you feel like you may have missed the boat. There are times when I feel like I’ve missed a great opportunity, but I remind myself to be patient because it will come back around again, or a better opportunity is on it’s way. I have had so many ‘no’s’ sometimes based on first impressions that it has made me tough. Whenever I feel a little de-motivated I zone out to some good dance music and run. Once I’m in that musical zone I can meditate.

As a woman I like that I can show my vulnerability but be a bad-ass at the same time. There are over 7 billion people and of all the women in that 7 billion we cannot label a small percentage as beautiful, its absurd! We need to break stigmas and long-standing beauty stereotypes and within my industry, that’s why I believe that advertisers, media makers and brands need to start diversifying their look.

Find out more about RocketLightFilms here

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