Colourful Woman Wednesday: LaurenAsh

This week’s Colourful Woman is LaurenAsh (Lauren Stephenson), a hip-hop artist (and fledgling blogger) based in NYC.  Her debut single, “She Is”, is available for download NOW!

What makes you a “colourful woman”?

I believe it’s more than my skin color that labels me a “colourful woman.” It’s my passion to create and be a voice for all women regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, etc. My drive and continuous fight to stand up for what I believe in and be who I am give way for all women to do the same.

LaurenAsh_She Is

Who are some of your colourful inspirations?

I have never really had a particular or go to person I’ve leaned on for inspiration. I tend to be inspired by life and the experiences it brings. My good friend and mentor Jerry has probably been one of the most influential people in my life. I’d also have to say Maya Angelou. Her book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” gave me a whole new perspective on life.

What message would you like to share with our readers today?

Dare to be different! People are going to try and stop you before you can even get started but you must strive for excellence within yourself!

And check out my music video!

Colourful Woman Wednesday: Charmaine Joseph

This week’s Colourful Woman feature showcases Charmaine Joseph.  Charmaine is an Atlanta-based Marketing & Sales Coordinator for corporate apparel agency, The Gingerich Group.  She is also the co-owner of a socially conscious t-shirt line: Global Warming. Charmaine partnered with Social Media maven, Lauren Shirreffs, and together they created t-shirts that touch on different issues from stereotyping, bullying, racism, body image, etc.

Our concept was to create “walking billboards,” these shirts are text based with pointed messages that are meant to educate, enlighten or provoke dialogue at a glance.

Recently, Global Warming started an initiative called “Global Change.” For this project they team up with different schools and have classes create designs on varied topics and then choose a winning design and have proceeds from the t-shirt sales go towards their charity of choice.

It’s very refreshing to go into classrooms and hear students talk about their visions for their designs and hear the passion that comes from their own life experiences, whether it be racism, bullying, body image etc.

The Global Change initiative’s winning design for Anti-Bullying. On sale at http://www.global-warming.ca from November 1st.
designer: Martin Kondrat / The Academy of Design.


What makes you a “colourful woman”?
I have to take this very literally when you say “colourful woman”!  I actually think it may just be appropriate to insert a photo from my wedding here, the photo really says it all.  I may just be the most colourful person I know (laughs).  I actually gave my bridesmaids little Kate Spade coin purses that said “Live Colourfully”…it’s definitely my life theme.


Who or what are some of your colourful inspirations?
I’m not sure if it is part of my Caribbean roots, but of course it’s a possibility having family from Barbados and growing up seeing the vibrant costumes for carnival, and that rich aspect of our heritage.  Then there are the tropical flowers, the sea etc. Being nurtured in such a vivacious environment has a great impact.


What message would you like to share with our readers today?
Be the best version of you. Don’t get caught up in someone else’s definition of success, beauty, love, or happiness. As Lauryn Hill once said, “God made us all different, on purpose.” I think our differences make us beautiful so just learn to love your shortcomings, your imperfections, your struggle, because they all add to the masterpiece. A painter mixes colours before they touch the canvas, nothing and nobody is perfect.

Colourful Woman Wednesday: Michelle Bobb-Parris

Michelle Bobb-Parris by Garance Doré

Michelle Bobb-Parris by Garance Doré

“Girl. Have camera. Will shoot” warns Canadian lawyer turned street-style fashion photographer Michelle Bobb-Parris. Over the past two years, Michelle has worked with the greatest fashion influencers, from NYLON magazine to Italian luxury retailer Luisa Via Roma and become a feature of London Fashion Week. This week, she’s celebrating her photographic partnership with Michael Kors for  the opening of his new London store.

‘What makes you a colourful woman?’

Usually, when one is described as ‘colourful’ it can be a euphemism for so many things, but I’d like to think of myself as colourful because of what a friend described as my polymath left-brain/right-brain skill set. It has a lot to do with the well-rounded upbringing my parents gave me, full of academic encouragement, creative pursuits, and sports, which have shaped my career path (so far!). I have always found it difficult to define myself as only one thing.

Being a colourful woman, do you think you fit in differently in the street style blogger community?

I’d have to answer that with both a yes and a no. Yes, because I don’t know of other street style photographers with my experiential background, but no because the street style photographer community is a fairly diverse one. It’s a veritable cultural, racial, and career rainbow outside of the shows.

There’s been a lot of noise recently around Independent Fashion Bloggers arguing there were few colourful women in blogging because their content doesn’t measure up. What’s your take on it?
I tend to not put too much stock in comments that come from a misinformed or inflammatory place. When you are not looking for something, you won’t notice it’s missing from your circle, so it’s understandable that both the author and founder of IFB aren’t aware of high quality of blogs that come from outside of their myopic point of view.

‘Who are some of your colourful inspirations?’

My parents. They have taken on challenges in life and have instilled in me (and still do) so many life lessons and values that have sustained and guided me to where I am today.
‘What message would you like to share with our readers today?’
One of my favourite quotes: “The man at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” Work hard and success will follow.
What are your upcoming projects you’d like to share with our readers?

One that I can now share is that I just finished shooting a project for Michael Kors (under the hash tag #MKLOVESLONDON) to coincide with the opening of his store in Covent Garden, London, so look out for more about it this week.

You can follow Michelle on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook

Colourful Woman Wednesday: Paola Jean

This week marks the return of our “Colourful Woman Wednesday” series, which features stories of colourful women surviving and thriving. If you’d like to share your story, or nominate a colourful woman for this feature, email us or get in touch via TumblrTwitter or Facebook

I had the genuine pleasure of sitting down with singer & songwriter Paola Jean as she shared her story with us, including some of the key experiences that drive her passion in music.  Born and bred in Bern, Switzerland, this Brooklyn-based multilingual singer & songwriter infuses the diversity of her world into the melody and lyrics of her music, accompanied by beats from some of LA’s and NY’s most promising producers.

VM: So from Switzerland, to LA, to Brooklyn.  Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how this journey has been unfolding so far?

PJ: I grew up in Switzerland, and I also have a home base in Los Angeles.  My move from Switzerland to New York though, was definitely focussed towards pursuing my artistry.  I’m in Brooklyn right now and I feel like as an artist, I can be anything I want to be in New York.  There are no limits to how creative or how edgy I can be, and I draw a great amount of inspiration from my environment here.  The last decade has been a very diverse mesh of work, my relationship, and my music.  I’ve made a conscious decision at present, to really focus on my music and devote real attention to my art and the lyrics.  My whole drive behind making music is that I want to leave a legacy when I’m gone.  The lyrics you write today, yes they’re here now but it’s not just about today. What you put out there into the world is going to be a huge representation of who you are and the story that you want to tell, and it will be out there for a long time.

VM: Tell us a bit about your musical style and any of your inspirations.

PJ: Because of my upbringing, I draw from a lot of different fields of inspiration when I am defining my own musical style.  With a Haitian mother and a Swiss father, I grew up listening to a lot of music from the caribbean, zouk, a lot of soul music, as well as traditional swiss music, and folk music.  I like the ability to be a bit of a chameleon with my music, and I think it’s always better when it comes from your own experiences.  For example, a project I am working on right now is my new record Love/Infinity.  It pulls from a lot of personal experiences, as well as those of people around me.  As in the title, it deals with love, but also the other aspects of love.  Love and anger, for one, are part of the same thing if you look at it.  The first single, “Relativity”, talks about separation and divorce – which is a whole other spectrum of being in love.  I’m working on the follow up to that with a song called “Top of the World” where it talks about the metamorphosis of a woman who is no longer going to settle for someone who isn’t worth the sacrifice of taking to the top of the world.  Another song, “You Gotta Be Here” talks about the longing for someone that you miss, yet you’re with that person.  I took inspiration for that premise from the wars plaguing us globally, where men and women are separated because one half has to fulfill some type of duty.  I wanted to acknowledge the sacrifice a lot of men and women have to make.  I took that message, but it’s spun in a reggae style, just to take it out of the box a bit.

VM: How do you relate your upbringing into your music now?

PJ: I grew up in a place called Munsingen, just outside of Bern – Switzerland’s capital – in a predominantly white community.  But I have to be honest, if I think about when I first realized what colour I was, that reckoning hit me when I moved to the US, not when I was living in Switzerland.  In the US it’s almost like these defined cliques and you have to make a choice – a statement – and decide what side you will join.  Often I got the question, “Well do you feel like you are black, or do you see yourself as white?”.  I see myself as All.  In picking a side, you are denying one half of yourself.  How can you do that?  It took time to fully come into my own and work on it, but I think I have a good blend of the two cultures inside my heart.  One of the biggest joys I find in music is the freedom.  You don’t have to fit into a clique.  There are no boundaries to where you can go with music, or what story you want to share.

VM: It seems the diversity in your family helped you nurture a very positive voice and outlook.

PJ: My parents were very, very supportive, especially of my music.  My mom said I was singing before I was walking.  But I think the first time it resonated for me, was when I was eleven and sang with my school choir.  That’s when I knew in my core that this was something I wanted to do.  I expanded into singing and dancing contests.  My father in particular always supported me.  He always wore a suit, so he looked like my manager, always sitting in the back providing steady support.  There were times when he pushed me to enter a competition, and I would say, “I don’t want to conform to anything! I’m a rebel, I don’t want to be commercial…” But he would just reassure me and say, “Hey why not, you never know.  Just check it out.”  Those opportunities would lead to another, and another, and eventually allowed me to perform shows in Germany and Russia, and I really had a chance to expand.  I definitely felt supported by my parents.  But they also told me to get a degree.  They said that you never know what life will bring you, and you want to have all possible options available to you.  They said, “We don’t care what you do, just get a degree.”  And well, I could never commit myself wholly to something I didn’t love, so I became a nurse.

VM: That’s some really solid advice.  But what pulled you to Nursing?

PJ: Nursing draws me in because it’s about the miracle of human beings.  I have a huge respect for our body, for nature, for anything we can’t really 100% explain.  I have a huge fascination with the frailty of the human body, and also its strength in what it’s able to accomplish.  I also really love engaging with all types of people.  I can get bored in a routine quite quickly; Nursing is the perfect job because you meet a lot of different people every day, each with their unique stories.  And every nurse who reads this is going to laugh, but I always say that I’m a nurse, I’m a psychiatrist, I’m a counsellor, I’m a spiritual guide, I’m a nanny, a butler, a maid, everything that you can imagine and more.  In this one role, you really have to pull from so many other roles.

The broad bridge between Nursing and music has been gapped by my ability to really explore and know myself.  My dad has been a huge driving force.  I always had an extremely curious outlook and my parents nurtured that.  They were very careful not to shut it off.  My dad taught me that things are never the way they seem, that you have to really look closely and pay attention to every story and look for yourself.  I think our society, globally, can be amazing.  But we still have a lot of issues and hangups, like skin colour.  And one thing we learn in Nursing is that the skin won’t help you when it boils down to what matters.  It won’t help cure you.  Internally when we are cut open, we all look the same.

VM: Maybe that can be the next song.

PJ: Yes! We are all Red.

VM: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to sit and talk with us.  Where can our readers find more information on your albums and work?

PJ: The first album is available on iTunes.  You can also buy the hard copy over at CDBaby.  The 2nd full length album Love/Infinity will be coming out soon.  The first single off of that is “Relativity” and that’s also available on iTunes.  We worked with a lot of great producers including James Poyser of the Roots, Kev Brown, Fantasic Machine and Mobius Collective, among others.

VM: In the spirit of our weekly feature, how would you define yourself as a colourful woman?

PJ: I am a colourful woman, because I love colours in the true essence!  You will see me every day in some crazy new colour combination.  I think it represents not only the caribbean flavour and a part of my heritage, but also it represents that aspect of my personality.  I try to hold onto the vibrance of my heritage and hope it shines through my personality.  I take that with me every day, everywhere.  And if it’s grey and black out there, I blast it with my joy.

Take a look at the video for Paola’s single Relativity here, and keep in touch with her through the links after the jump:

Follow Paola Jean on:

Facebook
Twitter
Youtube

Colourful Woman Wednesday: Masia One

This is the eleventh post in our “Colourful Woman Wednesday” series, which features stories of colourful women surviving and thriving. If you’d like to share your story, or nominate a colourful woman for this feature, email us or get in touch via TumblrTwitter or Facebook

Masia One

Masia One is a remarkable performing artist. She’s the first female nominated for a Much Music Video Award (Rap) and winner of the Chinese Canadian National Council Pioneer Award. Her music has edge and passion and her style is undeniable. In an interview with the Coloured Collective’s Lisa Rajkumar-Maharaj, Masia has this to say:

How would you describe your musical style? What are your musical inspirations?
My music is based in Hiphop and has dancehall, reggae, and pop influences.  It is also very influenced by my nomadic lifestyle.  The message is with the intention of making people feel brave and positive to balance out the amount of degradation in mainstream sound today.
 
To say you are multi talented is an understatement. Other than singing, what other types of work do you do? 
I’m currently the Creative Director of a NYC based high end men’s outerwear line M71 that will be launching at Magic in Las Vegas this Fall. My company The MERDEKA Group is a branding boutique where we take events, artists or products and create the brand identity through graphic design, manufactured merchandise and events.  We’ve worked with Redbull, Adidas, Mobile Jam Fest (Youth Creativity Festival) and facilitate opportunities to bring the grass roots community and corporate interests together.  Finally, I really like painting and I hope to get a gig one day illustrating a children’s story book.
 
Tell us a bit about your upbringing and how you fit into and perceive the urban music scene.
I was born in Singapore and grew up in Vancouver, BC.  When I found a bootleg Public Enemy tape in Singapore at the age of 8, I knew I had discovered something unlike anything I had heard before. When I put out my first album Mississauga in 2003, I’m don’t think I fit into the perceived urban music scene at all – because of the way I look I was told to either be a spoken word poet or car model. Today Hiphop & Urban music is undeniably international and I’m hoping to bring my experience in music & culture back to SE Asia, the place of my birth.
 
Any performances, albums or anything you’d like to share with our readers? Where can we buy your album?
I have 2 upcoming releases for 2012.  The first is BOOTLEG CULTURE, produced by Grammy winning producer Che Vicious (Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, 50 Cent, Kanye).  Guest appearances include The RZA, Isis of Thunderheist and Talib Kweli.  The second is a record done live at Tuff Gong (Bob Marley’s studios) in Kingston Jamaica together with an incredible band Dubtonic Kru.  My music can be purchased on iTunes or on my website www.masiaone.com (store opening at the end of the month).
The first single Warriors Tongue can be viewed here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b8QMVJVQjs
 

Masia One Album cover

Finally, since the theme of our blog is Colourful women, that is, women who create a unique space for themselves in the world – powerful women of varying racial and cultural backgrounds, what would you say makes you a Colourful woman? 
Every woman is a colourful woman, but what is exposed in the media is an extremely skewed monochrome vision.  Only 24% of news subjects are women.  In a vast mainstream of Hiphop music, there is a spotlight on only 1 female – who incidentally glamourizes being a Barbie.  At the ground level, casting couches are happening every day in order for women to break through in this industry.  I guess what makes me able to show that I am a colourful woman is that I have been able to be independent and self sufficient in the business from reading my contracts to booking shows, where there’s usually a male “gatekeeper” for every female act.  My business MERDEKA is the Malay word for “independence & freedom” and this is certainly something I champion for all women.

Colourful Woman Wednesday – Phebe Trotman

This is the tenth post in our “Colourful Woman Wednesday” series, which features stories of colourful women surviving and thriving. If you’d like to share your story, or nominate a colourful woman for this feature, email us or get in touch via TumblrTwitter or Facebook

Phebe Trotman

Phebe Trotman is a graduate of Simon Fraser University, with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Kinesiology, Certificate in Nutrition and Certificate in Health & Fitness.She is the Head Coach of the CMFSC Initiation Academy which is a Coquitlam, BC Metro-Ford Soccer program catering to boys and girls in the Under 5 to 7 age levels. She is also a Gratitude & Appreciation Coach with SendOutCards (www.sendoutcards.com/Phebe), a company devoted to celebrating the impact of personal connections, in a growing impersonal world.

Coloured Collective author Veesha Sonachansingh asked Phebe these questions.

What makes you a “colourful woman”?
What makes me a colourful woman is my love for all people!  I do feel that as a Woman of Colour it is especially important to be a positive role model for others and a supporter of others as they excel in their lives…. whether its as a soccer player, soccer coach, in business or simply as a supportive friend!  My goal is to also help be a connector of people in the community so that we can support one another in our different endeavours… lets help each other and work together to rise to the top.

Phebe was truly honoured to be featured as this week’s Colourful Woman, and asked us to share why we invited her. We gravitated toward her because of her positivity. There is something about her temperament that genuinely finds the gold in all experiences and people, and her influence upon them in turn makes them shine even more.

Who/what are some of your colourful inspirations?
I am a huge reader and love personal development books, courses and seminars.  I have really followed in my parent’s footsteps and have a huge library of books.  I get most of my inspiration from learning from others who have followed their life’s passions and made their dreams their reality. Some of my favourite books are The Magic of Thinking Big, How to Win Friends and Influence People,  Excuse Me Your life is Waiting, The Slight Edge and Beach Money… the list does go on though… I love to read!!Favourite  speakers are Maya Angelou, Les Brown and Tony Robbins!I am actually reading a book right now called The Magic by Rhonda Byren and although I’ve only just started it, I can already tell it will be one of my favourite books because it is not only something to read however it also has daily action items to help you incorporate gratitude into your life… it’s fantastic!
My parents inspire me each day through their love for people , helping others and making a positive difference!

What are some of your projects right now?
My current focus right now is called The Gratitude Mission (www.thegratitudemission.com) and its to encourage 1000 people before the end of 2012 to join the Gratitude Challenge.  The Gratitude Challenge is to express gratitude to a least 1 person a day, anywhere in the world, for any reason, for 30 consecutive days by sending them a real greeting card with a heartfelt message using the SendOutCards system.

My goal is to have 1000 people between now and December 31, 2012 take the challenge so in order to do that I am also looking for other Gratitude Coaches to partner up and help spread this mission around the World! By having 1000 people take the challenge, each sending out 30 cards of gratitude that works out to 30,000 people being touched, blessed, inspired and encouraged… and that’s just the beginning because there is a positive ripple effect that happens!

What message would you like to share with our readers today?
We all are so unique and have each been blessed with God-given gifts and talents that only you have. It is your talents and gifts that when shared with the World will have a positive and lasting impact. If we each truly embrace who we are, live in our life’s passions and shared our gifts with the World, can you imagine what this World would look like? I love the quote… “To the world you are one person but to one person you are the world”  Who are the people in your life that you mean the World to and who means the World to you… do they know? Life is so short and it is so important to live each day to the fullest and cherish the relationships you have with others. Live in your life passions to the fullest and lets be an inspiration to others that they too can live their life passions!

Colourful Woman Wednesday: Idrissa Simmonds

This is the ninth post in our “Colourful Woman Wednesday” series, which features stories of colourful women surviving and thriving. If you’d like to share your story, or nominate a colourful woman for this feature, email us or get in touch via TumblrTwitter or Facebook

Idrissa Simmonds

Idrissa Simmonds is a remarkably inspiring writer and an educator. After studying in Concordia University’s Creative Writing Program for two years, she completed her MA in English Literature and International Relations from the University of British Columbia, and her MA in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy from NYU. She has always been interested in educational access and equality, particularly for communities of colour globally. Born in Brooklyn NY to Jamaican and Haitian-American parents, she was raised in Vancouver BC, and has spent a significant amount of time in West Africa. The similarities in the disparities in educational access for Black and Brown people in all these places have had a great impact on her career and creative choices.  The Coloured Collective’s writer Veesha Sonachansingh asked Idrissa these questions.

What makes you a “colourful woman”?
I recognize the importance of giving back. Of mentoring. Of giving love even when you don’t feel it given to you. I accept being a beautifully flawed human being and celebrate this in my writing and in my relationships with girls and younger women who are still learning this – shit, I’m still learning this but simply know that there will be good days with the bad. I love exploring my creativity, stretching my boundaries, building community and loving freely.

Who/what are some of your colourful inspirations?
Firstly, I’m inspired by those who are invested in leaving a positive impact with their life, whether that be my landlady opening her home to family on a regular basis for celebrations (and always inviting her tenants!); or the writing of Toni Morrison; or social activists and community leaders. Secondly, I am inspired by anyone who is exploring his or her talent to its deepest potential. James Baldwin, Edwidge Danticat, Nikky Finney, Yasiin Bey, Oprah, a host of educators that I work with, the artists Wangechi Mutu, Paul Sika and Jamal Shabazz…honestly, this list goes on and on!

What are some of your projects right now?
I’m excited to be launching an online magazine that explores the concept of “Global Black Cool” by featuring art, politics, style, literature and social entrepreneurship in cities globally. To stay true to our vision and make this conversation truly a global one, our editors are in Brooklyn, Toronto, Accra, and Vancouver. If interested learning more or becoming a contributing editor please email mag116online@gmail.com.

I am a 2012 Resident with New York’s Poet’s House Emerging Poet’s Residency. We just completed our 10-week workshop cycle; it was a great experience in digging deep with my writing with a community of peers and getting some publications under my belt. A few of us in the workshop made commitments to our work to see us through the next year and I’m looking forward to seeing what is manifested through this process.

What message would you like to share with our readers today?
If I have learned anything this past year, it’s the importance of living without fear and living authentically.

Colourful Woman Wednesday: Christiane McGahan

This is the eighth post in our “Colourful Woman Wednesday” series, which features stories of colourful women surviving and thriving. If you’d like to share your story, or nominate a colourful woman for this feature, email us or get in touch via TumblrTwitter or Facebook
This week we tried something a little different. We posted a request for Colourful declarations on our Facebook page asking ‘What makes you Colourful?’. Below is a quote from Christiane McGahan.
Colourful for me is, that moment when you finally realize that other people look at you and just have no clue which category to put you in… you don’t fit the black/white/asian/hispanic categories they’re accustomed to, it confuses them and for a select few, it can even scare them…
But for those of us in this special category all our own, it is a source of amusement and yes, power, to realize that no matter what others think they ‘know’, the human race is in fact, just one race – the boundaries are simply in our minds.

To share your own Colourful declarations, go to our Facebook page and reply to the top post. We’ll highlight your responses on the blog.

Colourful Woman Wednesday: Hanna Herbertson

This is the seventh post in our “Colourful Woman Wednesday” series, which features stories of colourful women surviving and thriving. If you’d like to share your story, or nominate a colourful woman for this feature, email us or get in touch via Tumblr,Twitter or Facebook.

Hanna Herbertson of Blackgold Dance Crew

Seeing Hanna dance makes us want to dance. She is everything we love here at the Coloured Collective – sassy, passionate and talented. Born in South Korea, Hanna Herbertson moved to Sweden at an early age, where she grew up on an island in the Baltic sea called Gotland. Today, Hanna has extensive experience teaching dance as well as performing for audiences across the globe.

In September 2009, Hanna founded Blackgold Dance Crew together with choreographers Genius and History. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Hanna talked to us about her style of dance and inspiration:

‘How did you get into Danehall?
Growing up in Sweden I listened a lot to the radio and watched MTV. When I first heard tunes by Chaka Demus and Pliers and Shabba Ranks, I fell in love with dancehall music. The dance came later when Sean Paul buss and I discovered the party dances. I used to order dvd from parties in Jamaica and in NYC to learn, this was before youtube.. Lol!
When I came to NYC to study dance I ventured out from the commercial schools and went out the Brooklyn parties and danced with Jamaican dancers. Then in 2009 I was able to go to Jamaica for the first time. The rest is history 🙂

‘Can you describe what it is about Dancehall that you fell in love with?’
The music, the attitude and the freedom of expression was something that I had never experienced before in other cultures.

Dancer, Hanna Herbertson

‘What kinds of style you integrate with Dancehall?’
In the beginning when I started teaching and choreographing Caribbean style of dance I fused it more. Styles like belly dancing, soca, african, salsa etc. The last 4-5 years I’ve been gravitation more and more towards Jamaican dancehall though. Don’t like to be pigeonholed since I’ve studied many different kinds of dance styles so I have kept the name “Dancehall Fusion” and I still mash up styles when I think it’s appropriate.

‘Tell us about Blackgold Dance Crew and the kind of work that you do.’

In 2009 I started doing shows together with two choreographers/dancers from NYC, Genius and History. We quickly discovered that we had great chemistry as a trio and decided to form a dance crew and teach classes together. We ended up working with experienced dancehall artists like Mr Vegas and Mr Lexx. We have preformed and taught at high schools and collages around the US.

Internationally I’ve been teaching workshops, have created shows and done collaboration projects in countries like Jamaica, Germany, France, Finland and more. One of my current projects is working with Singaporean/Canadian artist Masia One. I’m in Toronto right now with her performing and teaching this week.

‘Finally Hanna, what would you say makes you a Colourful woman?’
Being adopted from South Korea, raised in Sweden and now living in NYC and doing dancehall, I’m living a colorful cultural mash up dream. Raised by a strong single mother who never got to travel much she always supported my endeavors and choice of profession. That has contributed a lot to my drive to learn, experience and enjoy life to the fullest and to live my life like it’s golden.

If you are in Toronto this week you’d be mad not to check out Hanna’s show the details of which are below.

Also to learn more about Hanna and her ongoing work, visit her website  www.HannaHerbertson.com.

Colourful Woman Wednesday: Manoush Zomorodi

This is the sixth post in our “Colourful Woman Wednesday” series, which features stories of colourful women surviving and thriving. If you’d like to share your story, or nominate a colourful woman for this feature, email us or get in touch via Tumblr,Twitter or Facebook.

Manoush Zomorodi is a freelance reporter, moderator, and media consultant. Her multimedia ebook CAMERA READY: How to Present Your Best Self and Ideas On Air or Online is the definitive manual for anyone appearing on camera.

Manoush is piloting a new public radio show about how innovation is changing New York. She contributes to the BBC’s Talking Movies show and hosts conferences on digital technology (including social media, online publishing, and start-ups). She also conducts private media training/strategy sessions and moderates videos for corporations and non-profits.

She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, NY1 reporter and anchor Josh Robin, and their two kids. Manoush was born and bred in NYC and is half Swiss and half Persian.

Oh, and the name? It’s pronounced mah-NOOSH zom-or-ROAD-ee.

Manoush talked to us about her motivations and inspirations:

‘What makes you a colourful woman?
My excessive potty mouth? No, I guess I’m colorful (or colourful- I also speak British) because I just can’t help myself from jumping into a conversation and asking lots of questions. I’m nosy and that’s always been very helpful as a journalist and makes people remember me, for better or worse. I remember a game we once played in the BBC’s Washington bureau where each person had to be labelled with one word. The word they come up with for me was “zesty.” Like a good salad dressing.

‘Who are some of your colourful inspirations?’
Right now, I would have to say Elmo. My 2 year-old is in love and I have developed a real fondness for Elmo’s combination of kindness and sass. Plus, red is a power color that really pops on camera!

‘What are some of your projects right now?’
Sheesh, too many. Besides having a multimedia enhanced ebook coming out on Tuesday, we are running a Kickstarter campaign to get the ebook’s “Quality Video for Everyone” message out. I’m a first time author and finding the whole process very exhilarating and emotional. I’m also piloting a public radio show about how innovation is affecting the NYC economy. Plus, I do my regular media training. Oh, and I have 2 kids and I’ve been dealing with the New York public school system and Kindergarten placement. That’s a full-time job in itself!

‘What message would you like to share with our readers today?’
Just do the best you can. If you are a mom, don’t kill yourself but also, don’t put everything off “until the kids are older” because things are moving too fast in media and the digital world to jump back in whenever you want. And not everyone is going to LOVE you. After being a news ‘wunderkind’ in my twenties, it’s hard to get used to that. But I’ll always have Elmo.