Editor’s note: Happy weekend! *cue confetti* today, Friday, October 10, 2014 is World Mental Health Day and I have a lot to share about my upcoming endeavours around the issue here in Jamaica in the coming weeks. I should have been hosting an event in Kingston today, similar to the one currently happening on the other end of the island in Montego Bay, but having been hit by Chikungunya and low blood pressure in the last 2-3 weeks, I was unable to get it together in time.*Sadness ensues* I’m still able to kick things off here on the blog so I’m very happy to share this interview. It’s part one of a two-part feature with the phenomenal Miss Aisha Thalia. She’s a 27-year old Caribbean-born Miami resident who is making her mark on the world by way of promoting mental health awareness, fighting homelessness, vegan and organic living, female empowerment, curl awareness, artistic expression for children, and general positivity, and for that I
admire the shit out of highly respect her.
If you’re an Instagram aficionado like myself, it’s quite possible that you’ve seen her profile and/or heard of her because not only is she beyond gorgeous, she’s also really funny and uplifting, so her Instagram account is quite popular, as are her Facebook and Twitter accounts. What moves me most is how she uses social media to spread love and light and to educate others on the things she’s passionate about, all of which are great causes. Today we’re getting to know her a bit and in part two she will share the details on her own battle with depression/bipolar 2 disorder. Ladies and gentlemen, one of Legacy Magazine 2012’s “40 under 40 leaders of today and tomorrow”, Aisha Thalia — mother, educator, philanthropist, actress, model and media personality. I’m very honoured she chose to share her story on my blog and I urge you to read,
salivate, share and be inspired/empowered.
The next part will be particularly poignant as she discusses her mental health, Internet bullying and even her relationship status. Namaste.
Everyone has their own opinion, perception and judgment, but tell us, who is Aisha Thalia?
I am just a loving soul. I am a mother, sister, daughter, friend, lover and teacher. My goal in life is to empower individuals to be kind, healthy, compassionate and to be the best they can be overall.
What subject/s do you teach?
I teach an integrated literacy class part-time to elementary age students.
You got your master’s degree in education at the age of 22, did you also get media training at that time? How did you develop that interest/get into that field?
No, I didn’t. I just happened to be thrown into the field because many of my friends are in it, it was fascinating to me and I was kind of good at it as public speaking has always come naturally. Talking to people is the easiest thing in the world for me.
You seem to have quite a number of interests… what’s your passion?
My passions include being the best mother I can be as well as fighting any injustice. I like to be a voice for those who don’t have one.
How did you rise to popularity and when did you realise you were basically a celebrity?
I am certainly not a celeb! I am just a woman who speaks on issues that people are interested to learn more about. It’s weird being out and having people ask to take pics with me! I’m just normal. (LOL)
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Completing my Master’s degree while raising a baby and working two jobs at the same time.
If your website and Instagram accounts are anything to go by, you always have your hands pretty full. How do you balance all of that plus being a mother? How do you unwind?
I make to-do lists. I cannot live without them. Balance is easy when you know what your priorities should be. I unwind by going to the beach and listening to music ….like anything from Marvin Gaye!
You are unapologetically vegan and loving it, and are always sharing nutrition advice on your website and social media accounts. When did you become vegan, and why?
Whew. That’s a long answer! Becoming vegan was a decision for my health, sustaining the environment’s resources, protecting the planet as well as for animal rights reasons. We aren’t eating real meat anymore. This new age meat is factory-farmed. Good luck with that! My website goes into detail about my vegan reasons, visit www.aishathalia.com if you’re interested in the long version. (LOL)
What are your favourite foods to eat and what is your advice to a ‘beginner vegan’?
Avocado anything! A beginner vegan should read as much as possible. I also recommend watching documentaries such as “Forks Over Knives”, “Vegucated” and you can find “From Farm to Fridge” on YouTube.
Have you always been a natural sista? Did you use a relaxer at any point in your life? What has your hair story been like? Is it in any way influenced by your being vegan?
I’ve been natural my whole life. In the ninth grade I got a relaxer once and it ruined my curls. I grew it out but they still aren’t exactly the same… Smh. My hair isn’t in any way related to me being a vegan, but I would warm anyone who gets relaxers to be careful. They are linked to scalp and health issues.
You recently relaunched your website and seem to be going in the direction of ‘brand Aisha’. What’s next for Aisha Thalia? What projects charitable/otherwise are you currently working on?
I just re-launched my website, before it was just one long blog. No order. Now it is broken up into topics so that people can go directly to what interests them. Right now I am in the process of getting all my favorite products together so that they are available for purchase on my website. I am also working on a vegan cookbook filled ONLY with recipes that I love and can make fairly easily.
Very nice… so what is the best project you’ve worked on so far?
I directed a mini documentary for a friend and that was fulfilling and challenging! But my best project is the environmental club that I run for children. We do a yearly neighborhood clean-up that involves 700 children and we grow veggie seedlings for community gardens.
What drives and inspires you?
My daughter! I am also inspired by feedback from others who tell me that their lives have been changed for the better and the change was inspired by me. I just love helping people.
Thanks for reading everyone… stay tuned for part 2!