Hey guys! Narcissist I am not, so talking about myself all the time really does not appeal to me. What I am is a millennial, Caymanian, black woman who really enjoys having conversations about the things that matter to us. This post is dedicated to four women from my home here in the Cayman Islands who have inspired me with their drive, perseverance and overall bad bitch behaviour.
I first met Leanna in high school and was drawn to her larger-than-life attitude. We made quick friends then, and now ten years later, I interact with Leanna in multiple arenas of my life including moonlighting for her promotions business @undergroundky.
Born on the island of Dominica, Leanna came to Cayman with her mother at a tender age and since then, has fused into an ambassador for Cayman’s heritage through her job without ever compromising her love for her homeland of Dominica.
In addition to her day job, Leanna owns and operates two businesses with the recent addition of Bella’s Beauty and Barber. I’ve personally sat in the chair at the salon a few times and the entire ambiance is filled with Leanna’s spirit. It’s a bright, cheery, organised space that immediately welcomes you as soon as you walk in.
Physically, Leanna is statuesque at five foot ten-ish with a heart sized to match. Her closest friends will agree that her door is always open, ear always ready to listen and her mind never judges.
“The best advice I would give my younger self is definitely [that] less is more in all aspects especially friendships”, says Leanna. “I would have told my self to be more careful about the people I let into my heart and trusted with my soul. I would have told my self to build more empires and not let people talk me out of my dreams because it seems “hard”. Finally, I would have told my self that all the people who made me a bit insecure about myself would never be in the same race as I am so don’t worry BE HAPPY!” ❤
Alanna came into my life at a former job where she immediately shone as one of those universally nice people. I admit, it took me awhile to trust her because I was in disbelief as to why a person would be that kind. Time has since elapsed and I’ve gotten to know Alanna better as a member of Rotaract Blue, where she is now Vice President. What I thought was “too nice” is a person who has encountered and overcome personal challenges of bullying and low self-worth to become a kind soul who is tolerant and respectful of others. She is no push-over either, as she pilgrimages through the twenty-somethings, she is more vocal about trusting her gut and saying her piece.
“I’ve got a wicked case of imposter syndrome. I don’t ever really just enjoy accomplishments. I’m always climbing an invisible mountain. Nowadays I’m trying to actually enjoy the things I’ve put work into and be kinder to myself”, says Alanna when asked what her biggest personal challenge is. Imposter she is not, a little kindness goes a long way and Alanna, you’ve got the whole world ahead of you with a ton of kindness to get there.
Like Alanna, I met Rene through my participation in Rotaract Blue. However, I followed her on social media for a long time prior. Why? She seemed like someone worth following. Now that I know Rene, albeit not as well as I would like, I see that she is a leader in many aspects – someone worth following.
As a fellow Scorpio, I know that she didn’t necessarily set out to be a leader. Rene has a spirit of ingenuity that can’t be turned off, resulting in a magnetism to her for ideas alone. In addition to that, Rene’s big heart was evident in the effort she applied to her work with Blue, sometimes seeming to burst out of her petite frame. She was President of Blue the year I was inducted and I was always in awe of how aware she was of all the things that were taking place.
She admits that she is hardest on herself about being successful. “I’ve always been a highly motivated person and a bit of an overachiever growing up. Whenever I accomplish a goal, instead of accepting that I did my best, I tend to think I could have done better. I am my biggest critic”, Rene says.
Last but certainly not least, my best friend – Angella. Angie is everything that we are told by our mothers that a Caymanian woman ought to be. Kind, smart, poised, with a streak of feisty, Angie is an accomplished Certified Public Accountant at one of Cayman’s most reputable companies. Gifted (and cursed) with a perpetually friendly face, I could not think of a woman more worthy of recognition when I was writing this piece.
Becoming an accountant was a passion of Angie’s since before we even became friends. The grueling examination process was one that I witnessed bring her to tears as she prepared for each one. Still, she persevered while keeping and excelling at a full-time job.
Her advice for young Angies out there? “There’s always a light at the end of every tunnel. Always stay determined and consistent and you can achieve anything you want to.”
Trust me – she would know.