Shani

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Hi! My name is Shani and I am a holistic esthetician and wellness writer with a background in beauty & fashion. My passion for wellness began very early in life, as I was brought up in a holistic and health-driven Caribbean family where food was organic, and natural herbs were treated as medicine. My Jamaican roots provided me with immeasurable knowledge of herbal healing and the women I had the pleasure of being raised by, inscribed those choices in me from youth. These amazing women have shaped the narrative for what “health consciousness” really is and it’s graciously stayed with me well into adulthood.

My grandmother was a huge influence on my family and I. She came to this country with nothing, knowing no one. She’s the lifeline for us all. She grew up in the countryside of Jamaica in a town called “St. Catherine” with farmland raising chickens, goats and more. Everything she ever needed was either grown in her yard or by neighbors. Every ailment was cured with plants and natural remedies. She was the one who taught me everything I needed to know about holistic living and then some. Coming from a different country meant my siblings and I were taught the immigrant motto: You come here and you work harder than anyone else. You can appreciate the struggle. I feel like growing up with this mentality and our way of life really shaped who I am as a woman today.

My sisters and I were always very close and because we were in each other’s lives so much, we never competed with one another. We were always taught that being catty and mean to other women had no point and wasn’t healthy.

My sisters and I were always very close and because we were in each other’s lives so much, we never competed with one another. We were always taught that being catty and mean to other women had no point and wasn’t healthy. The way my family worked was if someone needed help, we knew we’d figure it out together. We would all build each other up and instill that positivity in each other, especially while being raised in our environment that wasn’t very uplifting and tough most times. Money was not something we grew around- we worked hard for what we earned. When the days were tough and long, money was not our answer. Instead it was laughter and good company, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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I’ve never worked what you would call a typical “9-5” job. My first job was stacking boxes at Footlocker while still in school and it didn’t take me much time to realize that I was never happy working for someone else and before I decided to branch out and do my own thing, found myself on an entirely different path, as a professional model. I started at the age of 15 years old and made a conscious decision to stop modeling full time when I was 25. I found the environment quite toxic from the scrutiny, body image requirements and sexism.

Throughout my career and eventual decision to shift into skincare, I had several female favs I adore that’re killing the game right now. One such influences is Sophie Roe. I followed her a while ago and we ended up meeting later on which was so dope. She is a chef but is very much into sustainability and is extremely transparent about her life which I find to be relatable. It is always a reminder to me to be genuine and true to yourself. Another good friend of mine, Trinity,  started the company Golde which is a superfood company. It is so inspirational to me as a fellow entrepreneur to see how she started off her company and how big it has grown now. I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many influences, talent, and motivation and am even more blessed these two role models not only share their success, but share their tools and secrets to success as well. I appreciate the support I get from their presence.

IMG_0214Years and a little while later, here I am — starting my own holistic skin care line! Even though it’s in it’s crawling stages, it is extremely exciting to announce especially at this point in my career. The concept behind it, the product itself, and the message it relays will showcase the love I have for herbal healing. I’m a firm believer in ritual and creating a lifestyle that showcases balance, in all areas. Holistic living is a lifestyle and is one that requires commitment and time to see true results. I am so excited to see this business grow and intend to do exclusive facials, seminars, pop-ups, classes, and more.

My advice to fellow women pursuing dreams no matter how big or small – reach out and network! Don’t be afraid to get rejected. Of course, getting turned down from something you really want does sting a little, but we can’t take everything so personally. I have learned that the hard way, especially since I consider myself a sensitive person when it comes to my passions. I realized that in order to make it, I need to have an open mind. There is no ONE way of doing anything. Years ago, I thought I would be modeling my entire career, but I found it unfulfilling and decided to walk  a different way in order to find my true purpose in life. Life will never turn out the way you’d hoped or dreamt it would, and that’s ok. I realized in order to get further along in my career, I needed to take a leap and risk a little. Fear is a bug, and it will leave you set in your ways. Don’t let it control you. Take that leap and fly baby — fly.

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