This post was originally written on September 12th, 2018.
I was born in Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, NY to Trinidadian parents in the early 90s.
At the age of 5 I moved to San Fernando, Trinidad where I lived and went to school for a year. Although I was only 5, I was still a little Brooklyn girl and everyone at my Primary school knew it by my Nike sneakers. We had school uniforms and at that time (early 90s), the kids weren’t wearing Nike’s to school.
At the age of 6 I moved to Raleigh, NC.
My mom had transferred with her job to Raleigh because she didn’t want me growing up in Brooklyn. We were living in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights and if you know anything about NYC in the early 90s, you would know that it is nothing like the gentrified-filled NYC we live in today.
I remember being in school and having to get under my desk because we heard gunshots outside.
I will never forget the time our neighbor got shot right outside our window and my dad and I saw his guts splattered on the sidewalk.
There was also a drug raid across the street from our apartment building — these are reasons why my mom wanted me to experience a better childhood and moved our family to North Carolina.
Growing up in NC was fine however after college I decided to move back to NYC. I always felt like living in a big city was the best fit for me. During college, I wanted to move to Atlanta but after graduating, something really clicked for me that NYC was home and I should go back.
In January of 2013, I headed to NYC with a one-way ticket, one suitcase, no job, no plan and $200 in my bank account.
I lived with my Aunt in Flatbush, Brooklyn when I first got here and I told her that by October (my birth month), I would move out and get my own apartment. The first two days of me being in NYC were the hardest for me. It was the middle of winter, I knew no one here (except for my family), I didn’t have a plan and I damn sure didn’t know how to navigate around this huge, intimidating city.
I slept all day for the first two days — not because I was tired, but because I was anxious and scared. I knew that I couldn’t come here and blow it. People kept telling me how “hard” and “fast” New York is but I never let them discourage me — it only made me want to move here more.
I landed an internship on my 4th day after moving here.
It was at a PR Agency in Midtown Manhattan and it provided me with an unlimited Metro Card and food stipend. Through this internship I met my first friend in NYC, had my first experience working in a corporate environment (which I quickly learned isn’t for me) and I learned Manhattan fairly well. I utilized that unlimited Metro Card and after work everyday I would get on the train, get off at a stop and walk for hours. I walked in the freezing cold and admired the buildings, people and soaked in the culture. I found 5th Avenue and all of the designer stores! I would dream of the day I could just walk into these stores and make a purchase (still not quite there yet but still dreaming).
Towards the end of that internship, I landed a retail job at DSW Shoes in Union Square and learned the art of hustling as a New Yorker. I went to my internship from 9A - 5P then to DSW from 6P - 11P. Yes, I was tired but I knew I had to work and make money if I wanted my own apartment by October.
My internship ended that May and I stumbled upon another internship — this time at a modeling agency. I went to school for Television/Film and wanted to land a job in TV but had no luck. I went on interviews at CBS News and NBC News but didn’t get the job because of my lack of experience.
The modeling agency internship was pretty cool because I learned how to use Photoshop, scout for models and the general casting process for clients. I also got a chance to style models for a photoshoot and do their makeup. This is when I realized I had a knack for styling and enjoyed it but then I got an opportunity in TV. I wanted to see where the modeling agency gig would take me but working in TV was my career dream (or so I thought). I decided to leave the modeling agency internship and I started a program with The Mayor’s Office of Film and Television called Made In New York. During this time, I got hands-on training for working in TV and afterwards started interning for a Costume Designer on a feature film. I got a company car, free food and got an inside look at working in the Costumes Department in film. My days consisted of steaming clothes, returning items to store, shopping for clothes in SoHo and organizing tons of receipts!
It was a cool experience but that film’s shooting had come to an end and it was time to find my next gig.
I started working in the Editorial Department for Sony Pictures Television and started making real money.
I was still working at DSW at this time and was able to finally quit. It was August and I was making enough money to move out by October. I found an apartment and on October 1st, 2013 I was a resident of Queens (I hated it and a year later moved back to Brooklyn and have been living in Brooklyn ever since).
I went on to work for CBS, NBC, Fox, Netflix and Starz. I worked many hours, received a promotion and then realized that TV isn’t my passion. I no longer loved it. It was a cool experience and I met so many people and learned a lot but it is just a chapter in the book of my life that is still being written.
When I first moved to New York, I was in a long-distance relationship with a guy that lived in DC but it didn’t work out. He decided and planned to move to NYC but a month before he was scheduled to move, we decided to end our relationship and he stayed in DC. I started dating guys in NYC and through this learned what I liked, didn’t like, hated and deal breakers in a partner.
All of these experiences — the good, the bad and the ugly prepared me for my current relationship and the reason why I am saying goodbye to the city that I love.
Everyone that knows me knows that I am a die hard New Yorker and Brooklynite. I love this city so much because it has a bit of each part of the world and so you can never truly get bored here: from the European inspired architecture, Caribbean food and music blasting in my neighborhood, Polish people and hipsters living in harmony in Greenpoint, an abundance of bookstores, museums and coffee shops — New York City is simply one of a kind.
This city has inspired me so much through it’s fashion, art and hustle.
I learned to make something out of nothing and how to tough it out in any situation. I learned how to love, network and explore here.
I gained friends, lost friends and grew into the person that I am today here in NYC.
Yes, i’ve fallen in and out of love with NYC during my five years living here but overall, I wouldn’t trade my experience here for the world.
In two weeks, I say goodbye to NYC and say hello to a new city, country, time zone and continent.
I have feelings of excitement, optimism, fear and nervousness but you know what they say about New York: “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”.
With that being said, I’m ready for you, Johannesburg.