The young woman sitting across from me today, Pauleanna Reid, is effervescent, poised, and lovely. It’s hard to imagine that she was bullied throughout her childhood and teenage years and suffered from depression for six years before being diagnosed in 2010 and receiving treatment in 2011. Now, Pauleanna has made it her mission in life to make sure that other people have the tools and resources to overcome hurdles and achieve their dreams.
“I wasn’t going to live a life that everyone else was dictating for me,” says Pauleanna. It started in 2008 when she walked out of her final exam, deciding not to finish the college program that didn’t interest her. She then created a vision board, and on it, her biggest goal was finding a mentor. How do you find a mentor? “You ask,” she says, describing her meeting Toronto writer/photographer/personality Shannon Boodram in 2009 through a mutual friend. With Shannon’s support, Pauleanna learned how to become a better writer. “She was there for me when times were really tough…we built sisterhood.” Through Facebook, Pauleanna met another mentor, Shannae Ingleton, founder of What Women Want.
Shannae encouraged Pauleanna to create a personal blog, and she did, gaining a strong following. Shannae saw Pauleanna’s talent and introduced her to the editorial manager of a publishing house where Pauleanna now works. “Potential will always be noticed. You should work hard all the time. You don’t know who’s watching and what power they hold.” In this case, it led Pauleanna to becoming a journalist published in newspapers from the National Post to the Vancouver Sun, interviewing celebrities from Olivia Newton John to Rick Mercer.
Writing is only a part of the empire that Pauleanna is building. Her other businesses include partnering up with Bianca Brown to form the personal styling firm La’ Brown Styles, motivational speaking to young people through conferences, seminars and her own workshops, such as the upcoming Think BIG workshop, and New Girl On The Block, her youth mentoring and coaching program – “Less than six months working with me, one of my clients landed her dream job at Nike,” says Pauleanna, adding that without her team – including her publicist, assistants, interns, videographer, photographers – none of her businesses would be thriving today.
Pauleanna is also a brand ambassador and creative director at Beladara Virgin Hair Company, and volunteers for the 13 Division Cops and Kids program, and the SIPO Foundation. Clearly, success is inevitable for this entrepreneur. “My definition of success is three things: happiness, having the courage to live and breathe your passion, and giving more to the world, than what you take away.”
WORDS: MELISSA ALLEN
PHOTOS: MAX POWER
HAIR & MUA: JESSICA LOBALY & NINA MULLER
STYLISTS: LA’BROWN STYLES
CLOTHING BY: POMPS & PAGEANTRY
SHOES BY: ALDO