Featured Dream Chaser: #WaterBabee @DanniWashington Is A Real-Life Mermaid!


It’s not too often that I write a “Featured Dream Chaser” piece, but this one is loooong overdue. Let’s just say it probably should have been one of the first features I ever posted here, especially since I know this Dream Chaser all too well. Yup, she’s my bestie! And her journey is everything short of a Cinderella tale. As gorgeous as she is, Danni Washington is a BEAST! And anything else that’s resilient, unshakeable, unstoppable, and UN-breakable. And she’s been that way long before I met her when I was just a 17-year-old soon-to be senior in high school, who’d been following her hairstylist mother around backstage as she whipped the manes of some of South Florida’s most beautiful models for a beach-side fashion show.

 

Danni, the same age as me, was a model in the show. And although I don’t remember most of the details of that day, I do remember having a very brief conversation about our goals for the future. She had plans to attend the University of Miami to study Marine Biology, something that I had no clue about. When she said it had something to do with swimming a whole lot, and being alongside ocean creatures, I knew right away just why I knew NOTHING about marine life. With a mother as a hairstylist, I had probably been getting relaxers (permanent hair straighteners) for most of my life. And if you know what that is, then you know that water and perms DO NOT MIX! Therefore, I had no interest whatsoever in what she was talking about. But, I was magnetically drawn to her undeniable passion as she spoke of this goal of hers to attend a university that had one of the best Marine Biology programs in the country. I shared with her that I too had plans to attend the University of Miami, but not because I had actually researched any of its programs. My wish to attend UM was mostly because it was always a spoken of with such high regards in my family and surrounding community. I mean, everyone in Miami knew and loved “The U! And if I was going to continue my education, I wanted to be associated with the “The Best.” Sounds crazy, I know. Especially given how expensive UM is (I’ll be paying for it for a while). But college was always an after thought for me. If it weren’t for my desire to set an example for my family as the first to graduate college, I probably would have never gone…

d73f5083a8dda286-563174_463878483632497_905021811_n

Any who, the next time I saw Danni was about 3 years later. We were both juniors in college and I had just transferred to the University of Miami after completing two years in junior college (I had to figure out a way to save some money somehow if I was gonna pick the most expensive school in Florida). I must have recognized her instantly as we were both leaving the bookstore and heading towards the University Center. I remember tapping her shoulder and belting out a “HEY! How are you?!” with my arms open and ready to embrace a long-lost friend. We hugged and reminded each other of how and when we first met, and we both shared an implicit “WE MADE IT” moment, as we acknowledged that we both did EXACTLY what we said we would, in spite of.  That moment solidified the foundation of our friendship, and we’ve been sisters ever since.  We shared some of our most embarrassing, hurtful, happy and joyous moments throughout those years at UM. Our deepest connection, however, was our passion for understanding life’s mysteries… Yes, our curiosity of GOD and Spirituality, and our love for mankind is the glue that kept us connected and focused on the tasks at hand. We might not have quite understood our paths and why they crossed, but we had an understanding that our journeys were much bigger than we could have ever imagined, and that we could NOT travel alone.

 

Since graduating college Danni has gone on to start her own non-profit organization, The Big Blue & You, which is dedicated to educating youth about the ocean through media and an annual Art By The Sea event.  Every bit of her dream has required courage, hard work, and huge leaps of faith. In 2012, she packed her bags and took her talents to Los Angeles, California to solidify her dream of being an Ocean Advocate and On-Air personality. So far so good as she’s been invited to The White House at least twice, has worked on phenomenal marine life projects alongside some of the best in her field (including Life After Earth Science with Jayden Smith), has her very own TED Talks speech, and was recently featured in SEVENTEEN Magazine’s “Score Your Dream Life.” My girl has been WERKIN’! And in my eyes, she will forever be THE ULTIMATE Dream Chaser.

Meet Danni Washington: 2014 Reel

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdrph9Xr0do%5D

Check out Danni’s TED Talks as she explains her journey:

[youtube:http://youtu.be/1Lr9afMgcTQ%5D

Be sure to pick of the latest copy of Seventeen’s August 2014 to see how Danni exercises her GIRL POWER!

 

Advertisements

Featured Dream Chaser: Misha Vaidya, The Ultimate “Tea Time” Fashionista

Although she may never know how much our mere chance meeting has inspired me, “Misha V” as I know her, is an up-and-coming fashion force to be reckoned with.

I first met Misha during her last semester as a Public Relations graduate student at the University of Miami (It was my second semester in the same program, and we just  happened to be in the same class). What was most impressive to me was that Misha was probably the youngest person to ever graduate the program… she was only 21 years old then.

Since I too am a fashion and beauty junkie (thanks to my mom and business partner who is a longtime cosmetologist),  this London native caught my attention right away.

What I first noticed about Misha was that she was always so well put together from head to toe. From her delicately placed and beautifully embellished hair clips, her perfectly manicured nails and flawless makeup, on down to the choice of her outfit for the day…  Let’s just say if fashion is truly her calling in life, then she embodies every bit of it everywhere she goes… and she makes sure that her little Mac Book matches (yes, pretty in pink… Love it!).

On the day that I introduced myself to Misha, I noticed that she was working on a design program on her laptop just before class began. I decided to ask her about it, and sure enough, she explained her passion for fashion and her hopes to one day design a collection of her own. That was less than a year ago and Misha V has already begun her reign in fashion.

I was inspired to write this post because I recently stumbled upon her fan page on Facebook, only to be absolutely floored by the latest designs in her debut 2012 Tea Time Collection By Misha.  Between now and then Misha has had some of her pieces featured in Funkshion Fashion Week Miami Beach, and recently did a fashion show hosted at the luxurious Mondrian on Miami Beach.

Misha is exactly one of the reasons why I started this section of my blog. She is driven. She is passionate. She sets goals, and achieves them one by one… and she always looks absolutely FABULOUS while doing it.

I’m super proud of Misha V and wish her success beyond words. Check out her website for more on what she’s all about, and what to expect from her in the future. LONG LIVE FASHION!

Love,

@BCSTARKS

#TeamDreamChasers!

P.S.-  I couldn’t resist posting some of my favorite pieces from this collection. ENJOY! 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.