|Posted on May 4, 2013 at 12:15 AM||comments (0)|
BTF: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
VD: Hello!! My name is Vanessa Duplessis and I am currently a junior at CUNY - Brooklyn College. My love for children influences me to major in Children & Youth Studies, with goals of becoming a pediatricnurse. I am engaged to a handsome andsupportive man, who is currently serving in the United States’ Marine Corp. Throughout my life, I have learned theimportance of patience and love. I am a positive, energetic, and dedicatedyoung Haitian-American, who only dreams of serving my community. I am a member of Eglise Baptist Ammi choir aswell as the head choreographer of Gift of Praise Children’s dance group. I’m recently enjoying going natural and hopeto influence other females to embrace their natural hair too. Most importantly, I am a proud follower ofJesus Christ.
BTF: Do you think being raised Haitian Americanis a unique experience? If yes, how?
VD: YES,being born Haitian-American is a unique experience. As a child, other children would tease me becauseof my heritage by voicing their opinions and saying, "Haitian people can'tdress", "Haitians are lazy", "Go back to Haiti on the'Banana Boat’" and many more. People criticized me for being too"American". I understood atfirst very little what it meant to be Haitian but through my experience I’ve learnedwhat it felt like to be underestimated for being Haitian. In my household, I was taught that Haitianshave an enormous amount of strengths due to the obstacles placed to make themfail. Haitian born Michaelle Jean;educator, Garcelle Beauvais; actress and Jimmy Jean-Louis; actor, and SarodjBertin; lawyer were successful despite discouragement, hate, andmisunderstanding. Through thisexperience, I’ve learned to respect and appreciate the strength that Haitianscarry on their back, the faith on their lips, courage in their hearts and prideon their face. Overall, even though Iwas not born in Haiti, I hope that I will always make “her” proud.
BTF: How did it feel to win Brooklyn College’sMiss Haiti Pageant 2013?
VD: I wastruly amazed and felt extremely honored. I’m honored because I earned and was given this wonderful title. This title will forever be in my heart and Ihope to share this experience with my children and grand children someday. I feel bless because there are many beautifulHaitian Americans on campus and I didn’t think I deserve to be “Miss Haiti”. I told myself "I couldn't do this"but God had a different response for me and now I know "Yes, Ican". Through this experience I’velearned that nothing is impossible!
BTF: It’s very important for women to have apositive body image; do you think having pageants like the one you participatedin Haiti would benefit the country?
VD: Positivebody image is a sign of confidence and self-love. All the contestants are uniquely blessed intheir own way. Even though we allrepresented Haiti, it shows the variety of physical appearance Haiti has tooffer. Haitians can't be defined in onespectrum for Haiti is a prime example of diversity. Through the pageant, all of the young ladiescan learn how to embrace their bodies and be proud of their heritage.
BTF: In your opinion, what are the top 3 things needed to move our country forward and why?
VD: In my opinion, the top three things needed to move Haitiforward are more investments in the educational system, greater job opportunityand training for the people, and aid in the infrastructure. Growing up in a Haitian’s household, theimportance of education was also stressed upon me. In Haiti, education is very important butresources are needed in order to help Haiti progress in this category. Not only are 50% of school age children notenrolled in an education institution, there are approximately 30% of children enrolledin school, who will not attend the third grade. When investing in the educational system, there will be an investment inHaiti’s future. For the children ofHaiti hold the future of their country in their hands. It is important to invest in the educators,for 75% of those educators require adequate teacher’s training.
Secondly, job opportunities will help move Haitiforward, for 78% of the Haitian population is considered poor; living on lessthan two American’s dollars per day. Istrongly believe that the people of Haiti are multitalented and have manydifferent skills that can be useful in benefiting Haiti. Not only will an increase in jobopportunities fix those 40.6% unemployed in Haiti, but this will also be good forthe children of Haiti, especially since many families can't afford to havetheir children properly educated in school.
Lastly, a change in the infrastructure will open moretrade and transport opportunities in Haiti. After the 2010 devastating earthquake, most of the public’s infrastructuresbecame million of cubic meters of rubble in Port-Au-Prince. Without good conditioning road, Haiti willhave a more difficult time transporting natural products such as MangoFrancisque, which 2.5 million cases are grown yearly in Haiti. Infrastructure is also important in terms ofrepairing international and domestic airports in Haiti. Many people travel to the beautiful island ofHaiti yearly, so by repairing the airports this will increase visitors to Haiti
BTF: Last, but not least, what makes you aBelTiFi?
VD: I believeI am a “Bèl ti fi” because I’ve decided to love myself in order to bemyself! Despite the way societypressures females to be, I have my OWN definition of beauty and seek my ownstrength. Believing that NO ONE can takeaway the spirit that God has given me; I strive to excel and to also encourageothers to do the same. A bèl ti fi, inmy opinion, is not just great for her but also amazing in helping others to betheir own “bèl ti fi “. I try to teachmy praise’s dance students to love who they are and to stand for what theybelieve in. As a young Haitian-American,I love the country I was born in but adore the country were my heritage wasformed and I will forever stand for Haiti! Therefore I AM A bèl ti fi!
|Posted on April 1, 2013 at 1:15 PM||comments (0)|
BTF: Tell us about BEL
BEL: BEL on the surface stands for beauty; beautiful girls representing for a beautiful culture.
BEL is a Female entertainment project (more than just music) which includes the 1st Caribbean reality show “The making of Bel" (filmed with VH1 producer) capturing the journey to create BEL and raise awareness and funds for Haiti
Female Solo artists coming together For Haiti. Mickael Music, China Blak and Melanie Charles are the front-women for the BEL project but BEL is not limited to just theses 3 young ladies. BEL was designed as a platform for female artist to work together to bring positive change in the entertainment industry. So be on the lookout for many BEL's
The BEL girls take control of their branding, Mickael Music , one third of BEL is also the Creative Director/Visionary for the BEL project. So every fine detail of the project was made by BEL hands.
BEL is full of talented strong females working hard for one goal.
Three Girls. Three Stories. Three Letters. Three Voices. FOR ONE HAITI
BTF: How is the experience of being in a group of talented, yet very diverse, women?
BEL: The experience is a little bit of everything. But the common goal is sisterhood, music and Haiti. With that in mind BEL's plan is to be part of the positive branding of Haiti and our culture. Putting out positive images of Haiti is essential, so we are on our best behavior. Ambassadors, Tout bagay toujou bel pou BEL
BTF: What was the inspiration behind your track “Haitian Boy”?
BEL: After the earthquake, BEL was affected and wanted to do more for their people and culture. Watching on TV with everyone else, seeing the men pulling people out from under building etc. Realizing our men are never celebrated, they get a bad rap most of the time, BEL felt the need to be the 1st ever in history to celebrate Haitian Men. Mickael Music came up with the concept to do the song and called China Blak. They went into the studio and recorded, later Melanie Charles was added. Now in celebrating Haitian Men, BEL is celebrating All Haitians to show the world we have nothing but love for each other. Music wise, there are many songs celebrating Haitian women, so it’s our thank you to them as well.
BTF: What do you want to see in the future for the HMI?
BEL: The BEL project is not just a part of the HMI, “Haitian Boy” is on major networks and playing all over the world BUT in the future of the HMI, BEL would like to see more women joining forces, working together In the forefront and behind the scenes. To be just as Big and popular as the males. Positive music and showcasing of Haitian Culture. Also we would like to see great marketing and packaging for Haitian music to go more international.
BTF: What are your future plans for shows and an album?
BEL: We are so thankful to be welcomed and be in high demand; so many amazing opportunities have come from the BEL project. We are taking it one day at a time. So, yes many live shows, tours to come. Many music surprises too. It will be a BEL future.
BTF: How can your music help the youth in Haiti, especially young women?
BEL: BEL will be spending a lot of time in Haiti working with and for the youth. Anytime we stand together it helps the youth, especially the little girls. We live in a society that makes women feel like they have to stand on their own to be seen, when it comes to jealousy, envy, etc. Being solo artists and coming together for one cause is really big. Self-confidences allows people to work together. If you're BEL inside and out just stand on that! Also being natural, dark sisters help in the balance of things. There are so many chocolate kids in Haiti that need to see chocolate beauties on TV too. We are all BEL.
BTF: How are you all BelTiFis?
BEL: We are all BelTiFis by taking care of our inner and outer, by the way we treat people in a positive light. By the way we honor our Heartland Haiti by walking with our heads up high and being proud of where in which GOD allowed us to come from. We stand by all things Haiti, all things positive, we are Sis-Stars! All things BEL. Nap toujou fe BEL tifi
The Making of BEL
|Posted on March 1, 2013 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
BTF: Tell us a little about yourself.
JP: My name is Jessica Paillant, and I am a Certified Makeup Artist with a Degree in Psychology. I have created my own Makeup Artist freelance business and wish to expand this business in years to come. I am a lover of fine art and paintings, which I received from my father whom is an excellent artist and would tell us stories of how his first major painting is in the Haitian embassy. I enjoy listening to music, dancing and being social with a close nit group of friends. I love doing women’s makeup and having them feel better about themselves. I enjoy teaching women about how to apply their own makeup and to have fun with it. The feeling that I get when a women leaves my chair and feels great and loves my work is the best feeling my work can give me.
BTF: Where did you get your passion Make-up Artistry?
JP: My passion for Makeup Artistry started very young. As a child I was unable to wear makeup or even clear nail polish. So if any relative came over and did such things I would watch them to try and pick up tips and tricks. As I entered High School, I was then allowed to fully dabble in what I was only allowed to watch from afar. So of course I started with the basics of lip gloss and eyeliner which I would wear everyday. However this wasn’t enough for me, so I started to research how to do more with makeup. I watched videos online and read articles on everything makeup. As my knowledge grew, I became fully able to do my own full faced makeup. I then decided to start doing the makeup of my friends. I had a gift for figuring out their face shapes and what look would be best for them. They all loved what I did and told me that I should do this more. So I did, I would do makeup at fashion shows, photo shoots, and any event that I could. I began to hold my own photo shoots to build my portfolio with the help of my boyfriend, Najua Ward, who is an amazing photographer. This all led to my completion of my certification as a Makeup Artist.
BTF: We see you graduated college with a degree in Psychology; what made you take the turn towards being a makeup artist?
JP: Psychology was a fun and entertaining degree to receive. I enjoyed all of the classes and at one point could see myself as a child psychologist. However I could not let go of the love of makeup, I would always imagine myself as a very successful artist. As I achieved my degree I was still doing shoots and fashion shows and makeup for my clients. I always wanted a college degree and not getting one wasn’t an option. After my graduation ceremony I had to have a long look at what I wanted to do. Either continue with psychology or go full force with my Makeup Artistry. I made the firm decision to continue as a Makeup Artist. I then decided to get further professional schooling in this art and to become a certified makeup artist. It was a step I needed to take and one that was necessary for others to take me seriously. For those who would want my services but would not want to pay me because they saw it as a “hobby” and thought that they could use me. Or figured that we were “friends” and could also use me and did not see it as I saw it, as my career. I am so mush happier now that I can say that I am a Certified Makeup Artist and that I have a career that I love.
BTF: Was your family supportive in your career choice?
JP: At first, my family was not supportive. They believed that I was going to be a Psychologist and they were happy about that. They always knew about my love of makeup, and always commented on the amount of makeup that I owned. They knew I had jobs on the side but thought it was just a side hustle, something for fun. One day I told my parents that this was not for fun and it was something that I am passionate about. They weren’t excited about it but began to take it seriously once I enrolled in my certification program. They are coming around slowly but they see the amount of jobs increased because of my certification.
BTF: What role can you say makeup plays in Haitian Culture?
JP: I feel that Haitian women do wear makeup but it isn't something that is discussed, not in the older generations anyways. I feel like what these women did in their homes was kept in their homes. I feel that this field is one that is not glorified like that of becoming a doctor or lawyer. It is misunderstood and seen as one that will not lead to one making lots of money. However I feel that this is slowly changing as there are several Haitian women of this new generation that are involved in this industry and wish to change its stigma. This is a hard business, one that can create funds if you are great in it and know what you are doing.
BTF: Last but not least, what makes you a BelTiFi?
JP: Your page states that a BelTiFi is more then just the straight translation meaning “beautiful women” but one whom embodies elegance, sophistication, passion and drive, intelligence and independence. I know that I am all of the above. I feel that as women we must hold ourselves on a platform and know our self worth. We must carry ourselves with sophistication in everything we do and not give any means for those around us to speak negatively. Even if they do speak ill about us, it is not because of something that we have done wrong but because we are doing things right. I am passionate about what I love to do and about sharing with others and teaching other women my craft. To help other women feel better about themselves and not to masque their beauty but to enhance what is already there. I want to make a name for myself in this industry to get to a position where I can employ others and to be able to give back. Every woman should strive to have something of their, own to be self sufficient and independent. This is one of my firm beliefs that I have been taught since I was a little girl. That being financially stable and self sufficient will take you far.
Youtube:(spelled differently) BeautyByMsJessie ( http://www.youtube.com/user/BeautybyMsJessie?feature=mhee)
|Posted on December 3, 2012 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
BTF: Tell us a little about yourself
DS: I was born in Haiti and immigrated to the States when I was 9 yrs old. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and moved to Long Island during High School. I graduated with my Bachelors and Masters and have been a public servant all my life. As a new home owner in Queens, I am achieving the American dream. I am currently a Senior Manager for a major New York City Agency that employs over 750 people. I am also an Entrepreneur.
BTF: You are the founder and managing director of My Haiti Travels, how did you get it started?
DS: My Haiti Travels was created after organizing a trip to Haiti for a couple of friends. I could not find a reliable source that provided me information on where to stay, where to eat and what to do; when I did find information it was outdated. I had been to Haiti months prior and knew there were restaurants, bars, resorts, beautiful beaches, spas, and even a hookah bar. I was shocked that those things were not prominently showcased anywhere. Once I was able to secure the right services while in Haiti, my friends and I had the best experience ever.
When I came back to NY, I envisioned creating a service that had a directory of places in Haiti, but with reviews and ratings, similar to Yelp. I wanted people to have information and to help them make informed decisions about where to spend their money. At My Haiti Travels, we believe that if you frequent an establishment and spend your money you should get good service - even in Haiti. Businesses survive because of their customers.
Another vision we had for My Haiti Travels was to make it easy for you to travel to Haiti. A lot of people we spoke to didn't visit Haiti because they didn't know where to start, where to stay or where to eat. Haiti is a foreign place to many of us. At My Haiti Travels, you tell us how you want to spend your time and we'll arrange it. We work with your budget, and build your itinerary on what works for you; after all it is your time.
BTF: What is Impact Week 2013?
DS: Impact Week 2013 is our signature trip dedicated to giving clients a little taste of Haiti. We have something for everyone, quality dining, beaches, volunteerism, and touristic explorations of Haiti. Impact Week 2013 is designed to introduce people to the real Haiti.
We also included a Project Day because the trip is being held during Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. In the United States we celebrate MLK by giving back through community service, so we wanted to replicate that and also commemorate the January 2010 earthquake by providing our service to the youth in Haiti.
Haiti is a lot more than tent cities and poverty. The vision for Impact Week 2013 is to showcase a part of our country that the international community and even our own people don't know about.
BTF: How can organizations like My Haiti Travels change the perception of Haiti to the outside world?
DS: I grew up around a time where it wasn't cool to be Haitian in the U.S. Many of us did not speak our native tongue in public for fear of being chastised. This was a time when some of our brothers and sisters were claiming to be from other parts of the Caribbean rather than claim Haiti. I've been trying to change the perception of Haiti since I was a kid, whether it was marching with my parents on the Brooklyn Bridge to denounce the FDA's classification of Haitians, to educating people about my culture by serving as the Vice President of the Caribbean Club at college and now with the founding of My Haiti Travels.
At My Haiti Travels, we believe the best way to support Haiti is to visit, learn more about the country, spend money at local businesses and tell friends about your experience. My Haiti Travels is here to help make that a reality.
I think the perception of Haiti is starting to change. There are many foreigners investing in Haiti. There are boutique hotels being backed by some well known people in the States. Like they say in Haiti "Ayiti ap mache", don't get left behind.
BTF: Do you think that tourism in Haiti on the same scale as tourism in other Caribbean islands is going to be beneficial to Haiti’s culture and future?
DS: I think tourism in Haiti on the scale of other Caribbean countries done the right way can have a significant impact on the country, the people, the Diaspora, and the international community. Having a successful Tourism industry will make it possible for there to be a growing business sector. Also tourism can accelerate investments in infrastructure e.g. roads, hospitals, schools, utilities. It also provides jobs, and training allowing people to earn a living wage pay for their children's education and eventually rebuild the middle-class. It can also create demand for Haitian goods worldwide as more and more people experience the real Haiti.
Haiti is extraordinarily unique. We don't want to lose that. There is no need for another Bahamas in the Caribbean. Tourists in Haiti are not limited to spending their trip at a resort. They can actually leave and discover some exciting things. In Haiti, you can visit several natural waterfalls, have your dinner caught and cooked to your liking on the beach, witness a vodou ceremony, listen to a live band in the genre of your choice, enjoy multi-cultural cuisine, go to a club with flat screen TV's mounted on trees in a garden, and have direct access to some of the best art in the world. Having travelled to several countries in the Caribbean none can compare to Haiti's natural attractions and vibrant people.
BTF: Last but not least, what makes you a BelTiFi?
DS: I am BelTiFi because like you amazing Haitian-American women, I am "building bonds, bridging gaps, and breaking barriers". I am a BelTiFi because as you strive to "set the new standard of the traditional Haitian women", I'm working to change the image of Haiti.
Thank you for the opportunity. Keep up the great work that you are doing in our community.
|Posted on November 25, 2012 at 10:40 AM||comments (0)|
BTF: What would be one thing that the community should know about Michaelle Solages?
MS: I really care about the community. I am a lifelong resident of the community that I represent. I will do everything within my power to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of the residents. As an Assemblywoman, I will also work tirelessly to create jobs and enhance the quality of life for my constituents.
BTF:What inspired you and are your major influences for running?
MS: One of my main inspirations is President Barack Obama. In 2008, President Obama became the first African-American President of the United States. I was very impressed and inspired by the President's victory. In light of my election win, I became the first Haitian-American elected to the New York State Legislature. President Barack Obama is a major influence in my life.
BTF: As a young woman, what are your biggest platforms that you'd like to change or enhance for the youth?
MS: As a young woman, I believe that more young people should play an active role in government and politics. In order to achieve this objective, educators should create more courses that focus on government and politics.
BTF: Coming from a Haitian background and living in one of the most populated Haitian communities outside of Haiti, has your culture played a role in your goals and ambitions?
MS: My Haitian culture and background has given me the tools that I need to succeed in life. I am a hard worker and I believe that my Haitian culture has given me a strong work ethic. I am very proud of my Haitian background and heritage.
BTF: You come from a strong family of lawyers, businessmen, and politicians. Was community relations something you've always been passionate about?
MS: Family is a very important part of my life. My family has always played an active role in the community. As a result, I have always been passionate about community relations. I will continue to have an open door policy with the community so that I can listen to their needs and concerns.
|Posted on October 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
BTF: Tell us a little about yourself
HP: I am Hermanie Pierre, Miss Haiti, Philanthropist, Civil Engineer, Motivational Speaker, Children’s Advocate and a Public Figure. I am a native of Haiti; I was born and raised in the nation’s capital and largest city: Port-au-Prince. Now I reside in Arkansas. I came to the United States at the age of 14 to reunite with my parents.
BTF: How did you get started in the Beauty Pageant scene?
HP: A friend of mine advised me to. I soon realized it was the best opportunity for me to become an ambassador for my country and raise awareness for children's right to an education. Education is the key to a prosperous life; stay in school no matter what!” That’s the leit motif my parents have been uttering all my life. Their advice revealed to be tremendously instrumental. Pageantry is a great way to become more involved in the community. Helping disenfranchised children and their families with food and tuition became one of my favorite hobbies.
BTF: You are truly the definition of brains and beauty. Not only are you Miss Haiti International 2012, but you are also a Civil Engineer, how do you balance the two worlds?
HP: Hard work and dedication are the keys. Trust me it is not easy, I worked on my time management and my organization skills. I take it one day at a time. I planted the seeds; I cultivate it and wait on the results. I realize I want to be great and to be great you have to be able to reach back to others. I know I wanted to be a Civil Engineering since I was a little girl and being Miss Haiti just get me one step closer to my dream which is to make this world a better place.
I am intrinsically connected to my profession. Choosing engineering as a career was no accident. That’s why I feel content and resolved, every morning and sometimes in the middle of the night, on my way to work. This state of mind nourishes my ambitious being and directs it to upward mobility. It takes intelligence to make it up the ladder. Organizational politics is a thorny territory. Neither knowledge nor outstanding performance alone is sufficient for securing opportunity for organizational advancement. A mélange of both is the secret.”
When I set aside my engineer hard hat and boots, I volunteers and called upon to be a motivational speaker with countless organizations, and takes part in philanthropic activities. You name it, I am part of it: the Nashville Habitat for Humanity, Sophomore Mentorship Program, Peer Counsel Mentor, NSBE Arkansas Alumni Extension Chaplin; Adviser and Public Relations Director for Little Piece of Heaven Foundation, Board Member and Spokesperson for Haitian organizations Health Services (HOHS), Advocate for Go Red for Women, Young Adult Mentorship, May Town Scholar, College of Engineering ASCE Former President, Organization for Developing Leadership, Salsa Dance Team, Toastmasters International Member. I am also partners with local and global organizations such as Little Piece of Heaven Foundation (LPHF) and Haitian organizations Health Services (HOHS) to promote those choices that emulate my own educational choices.
BTF: Tell us about your platform A Better Tomorrow for Today’s Children: Building a New Generation
HP: With my platform "A Better Tomorrow for Today's Children: Building A New Generation”, one of my goals is to be a voice for the children. That is why I partner with the Little Piece of Heaven Foundation and Haitian Organization Health Services, to contribute to an equitable distribution of education, medical and nutritional support, not only to kids in Haiti but also to those in other parts of the globe. I also have my own scholarship “Leadership Through Education" to help disfranchised students in Haiti to afford college tuition, after I was touched by so many heartfelt letters asking for assistance.
BTF: Do you think that pageants such as the ones you have participated in would help the youth of Haiti? If yes, how so?
HP: Yes, yes, yes!!! I used to pay school for four kids in Haiti and now since I became Miss Haiti the number go up to six through my scholarship “Leadership Through Education". Not only paying for school but also continued to be a voice for them. Improving the lives of others inspires and motivates me, and this is just the beginning. Also be the first Miss International, now open doors for Miss Teen Haiti and Mrs Haiti 2013. Regardless of little support I received, I truly believe that I can help Haiti will become a better place with better access to education. It is my goal to utilize my resources, contacts and experience in Haiti’s best interests. I hope to be able to play my part and help make Haiti a better place to visit and live– one where people are valued and accepted for who they are. My life has been filled with privileges, joy and love. I have learned that it is what you make of it. Walt Disney says “If you can dream it, you can do it”. My dream is to make sure that all kids have access to education.
BTF: Last but not least, what makes you a BelTiFi?
HP: A BelTiFi is a woman that is civilized not only beauty but brain and success. She won’t settle for less. She is fearless. She wants to change the world regardless of the consequences. She embodies beauty through her knowledge. She is classy, humble, lovely, inspiring, and caring.