Happy New Year to all my Chroniclers. This is a new feature that I have been wanting to introduce to the site for quite some time now. In this #OneonOne I will be interviewing several well known influential Dominican Professional Women.
For the first ever post I had the ABSOLUTE PLEASURE of interviewing THE FIRST FEMALE GOVERNMENT Press Secretary of the Commonwealth of Dominica Mrs. Kamala Jno. Baptiste Aaron..take a look at the captivating conversation we shared…
Fashion icon, local celebrity, media mogul…you’ve been dubbed many titles… however how would YOU describe yourself??
- First of all, you are VERY kind with all the “titles” that have been tagged on. So, thank you very much for your generous compliments. I MUST be honest, I DON’T do fake modesty so I won’t pretend that I am not aware of those “titles.” And that’s even though I also know that people say those things more about you than to you. Truth is, even though I do not call myself all of those things, I do recognize the influence that I do have and have had in media, in fashion, in pageants and other areas. How I describe myself however, is as a very self-aware go-getter. When it comes to my ambitions, personally or professionally I am fearless. I push farther and work harder than anybody else I know.
Did you always picture yourself in your current field? Or was this the field that you’ve always wanted to pursue?
- That’s a very good question that no one else has ever asked me. I always knew that I wanted to be in a field where my voice was heard and my influence could be felt. I just did not know what shape it would take at first. In high school I was encouraged to do law, in college, my professors thought I was a law major. By about age 20, I was very clear on what I wanted to do—and it was media. I pursued it with everything I had. Doing media, breaking into media was the SOLE reason I participated in the Miss Dominica pageant. It was the platform that I chose to show what I was made of as a potential media personality and broadcaster. And as far as I was concerned, by the time I was done with the show, nobody was going to forget my performance or my name. I have never said so publicly before.
What or who would you say has been the biggest influence in your life?
- That’s a dicey question for me. There are positive influences and negative influences and both can propel you, both can act as a fire under your feet. That’s what happened with me. My maternal grandmother and my mother showed me in different ways what it means to be a strong woman, what it means to independent, what it means to be self-reliant and how critical it is to be a combination of beauty and brains. On the other hand, a troubled relationship with my father made me learn how to prove myself at a very early age.
We all face challenges in life…how do you approach problematic situations in your life?
- I believe that you learn to deal with challenges differently at different stages in your life. The way you handle a challenge in your teens is not how you handle it in your twenties and definitely not how you handle it in your thirties. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. But for me, here’s what’s been constant, it never, ever occurs to me to give up IF I think it’s worth it. So, I may stomp sometimes, I may pout sometimes. But if I assess that the outcome is worth my energy, my time then I find a way. If not, then I walk away. Period.
It’s well known that you have various projects ongoing at a time…how do you make time for yourself?
- OMG!!! Time for myself??? I’m SOOO here for that! It’s probably the most important thing, the most important tool to stay on top of your game. I don’t play around with that. I do weekly pedicures, manicures, monthly massages and other lady-bit things. I go to the hair salon every other week. All. About. Me.
There’s bound to be a certain level of critique especially always being in the public eye…how do you handle it?
- Critique??? Of whom? Me, Kamala? Whatever do you mean?? That’s not possible. That never happens. Forgive me, my sense of humor is very sarcastic. Look, critique when you are in the public eye is INEVITABLE. That’s part of the price you pay for having influence. I get it. I accept it and I move on. I will tell you this. It is important to know when to stop and respond and when to keep walking because you have places to get to in your life and goals to conquer. I know when to stop. For the most part, I have goals to conquer.
Where does your fashion inspiration come from (If you can just name some, as there must be many)?
- The joys of life. Fashion. Actually, I don’t have as many fashion inspiration sources as one may think. My absolute all-time style icon is Kate Blanchett. Perfection. Then, other people I think are style goddesses are Victoria Beckham, Solange Knowles, Jennifer Lopez, Rhianna and Zendaya. Actually, I know of and follow more curators of style, like stylists more than celebrities. Part of that is because I study the field. I know that the celebrities do not style themselves. So, my go-to move is always to check who is someone’s stylist.
Can you give three facts about yourself that you think will surprise people?
- I’m the best cook you will ever meet. EVER. 2. I would choose staying home over going out any day of the week. 3. Because I am what is called a “girly girl” meaning I love fashion and makeup and glamour and all that, people may interpret that to mean that I’m “soft.” Ha! I actually think that I could pass an army recruit obstacle course with flying colours. In other words, I’m a bad ass when I have to be.
What to date can you say has been your biggest accomplishment?
- This is not the typical answer. But it is my truth. My biggest accomplishment is being exactly who I am. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or feels about that. A lot of times, people live their lives feeling shy about being who they truly are. I see grown ass women (and men too) having to clique to fit in or pretending to be something or someone else. I’m not one of those people. I am unpretentious about who I am. I am unapologetic for who I am. I own my ambitions. I don’t pretend that I don’t want something if I do. And I tout my strengths and accept my flaws. Even if it makes other people uncomfortable. The bottom line is, I will NEVER dim my light in order to make someone else feel better about themselves. Not ever! In this life, doing THAT is not so easy. It makes it a huge accomplishment for me. And truly, it sets the path, creates the map for every other thing that you are able to do in life
If you had words of advice for your younger self what would it be?
- For me. It’s very simple. “You will be OK. You will be exactly who you want to be, no pretenses. You will marry the man of your dreams and everything will be OK.”