The ultimate dream in life is to have a job that you love. Something that ignites you with passion and fills you with purpose. Most of all something that pays you for doing work that fulfills you.
Oprah said "Follow your passion; it will lead you to your purpose" but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start.
When I was a child, I struggled with the question: what do you want to do when you grow up? I loved the spot light and the glamour of Hollywood. I dreamed of being a singer, dancer or an actor. Jennifer Lopez has always been one of my idols.
In my teens I found modelling and fell in love with it. I started to practice posing every night in my room. When I approached agencies, they directed me towards acting because of my height. I was considered too short to model. When I did try acting, I found that it wasn’t for me.
For close to 10 years I’ve pursued modelling on my own. I refused to let go of my passion for it.
Now I am in my twenties and I still feel unsure of what I want to do when I grow up. I never gave it much serious thought until now. I followed my passion modelling and settled for a job serving food in restaurants. But sometimes I wonder if this will still fulfill me in 20 years?
What about purpose? I’ve spent years trying to figure it out. I know what I love to do and I have many passions but which one of those will lead me to my purpose?
It took me a long trip to Hawaii with my partner to figure this out. After being in the city for so long my thoughts got stagnant and I lost all my inspiration. The city is stressful, competitive and there's a constant feeling of pressure. I needed to completely change my environment to be able to think clearly again.
I realized that I really do love to write. I’ve been writing my whole life. I have bookcases filled with journals. I’ve started multiple blogs in the past but I never kept up with any for very long.
Something that has stuck with me since I was young is that I love to be different. Sure there have been times where that wasn't always how I felt. It’s taken me years to get to a place of true self love and appreciation. Now that I am here I think what’s most important is being true to my authentic self.
Loving myself just the way I am hasn't always been easy and boy, have I been tested in many ways. It’s been proven to me that no matter what you look like in this world you can't catch a break. You won't always feel good about yourself and society and media doesn’t make it easy for you either. They'll have you strive for the latest, hottest look and have us compete with each other like we're in some massive beauty contest.
As a model I have witnessed this type of competitive nature first hand and it hurts. It's hard to stay away from judgement and jealousy. Above all it has been rough on my confidence. But I have also witnessed such grace and compassion between my fellow models and colleagues which brings me such joy.
I believe it is my mission to change this competitive nature. I believe everyone should feel free to be themselves in this world. And I believe that as women, we should all support and empower one another.
Shaka’s Walk Class
Two years ago, I tried to help with the issues I felt most women face in their day-to-day. I wanted to offer them a tool that could change how they feel in a moment of self doubt and inadequacy.
As a model I have spent a lot of time crafting a specific walk for the runway. It feels great to walk with such confidence and intent. Sometimes I throw it in during a walk down aisle 7 of the grocery store or while waiting on the platform for the subway. It always brightens my mood and makes me feel unstoppable.
I started working on my walk in high school while watching America’s Next Top Model at home. Over the past 10 years on the runway I've perfected it.
I had started a class in Toronto to teach women how to find their own walk to help build their confidence. Add a little bounce to their step, with a fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude so that they could feel better about themselves whenever they needed to. Let their body do the work, and the mind will catch up after a few steps. I know it works because I practice it and I can teach anyone how to do it for themselves too.
Trouble was, my classes didn’t pick right away and then my father became critically ill. That demanded most of my time and I eventually had to stop running my class.
But my idea and the passion behind it remains. So here’s my way to make it all happen again. I’m starting to write about all the things I love about women, all the experiences I’ve had as a woman that made me stronger and all the things I wish we could talk more about as women. Open up about self love, nudes, emotions, body image, women’s health and just about anything else. Create a space for women to go to to find solace. A place for them to be able to pick themselves up again and smile when they look in the mirror. That would be my biggest take-away from this.
I think that counts as passion and purpose.
So let me take you into this space and tell you things about yourself that you may or may not realize. I will give you some actionable tips that you can use at the drop of a hat. I want you to go out there in the world as a strong and capable woman who can do anything because she believes in herself. And because she likes herself. That is my ultimate goal.
We are in this together. I want to tell you right now that I do not claim to know everything but I am always learning so that we can both succeed in this.
I hope you find something that helps. Welcome.