Tell me a little about where you were born and what brought you to live in Miami?
I was born in Nicosia Cyprus a small island in the Mediterranean. I lived there until I was 15 soon after my parents shipped me to Texas so I can go to school and be with my brother and sisters. After living in Houston for 15 years I decided that I needed a change and that change had to consist of living somewhere artsy,fun and definitely a location that had great climate and a beautiful beach. I was contemplating between L.A or Miami but that decision was quickly made due to a very determined close friend named Lauren..she was your October Maven (aka Dj Cry Baby) who told me Miami is the better option and surely it was. Thanks to her I loved every minute of living in Miami and it was the best move I made for myself.
You were recently married in a beautiful ceremony in Jamaica. What advice would you give to brides to be about hosting a destination wedding?
HIRE a WEDDING PLANNER...Lol Yes it was a gorgeous wedding and I decided to try the "Do It Yourself" wedding and planned the entire Ceremony and Reception myself along with fun filled events for 3 days. It was very hard to do as you are planning it from one country to the next...all via email,phone calls and one trip there prior to the wedding. With the help of mine and my husbands family and friends I was able to get it done. It turned out to be a fabulous wedding with some of my closest friends flying in from all over to Negril Jamaica.I would definitely say keep it small around 65 people max, create a free wedding website that gives guests all the information they need and try to relax because in the end everything will turn out perfect!
Tell me about the non profit work you have done in the past.
For the longest time I have always had it in the back of my mind to help children that are in need and was in pursuit of a great organization. After moving to Miami I decided that Voices for Children Foundation was my best choice and became a child advocate for children that have been abused and placed in foster care. Going to visit the children at their place of care was hard to witness especially when some of the cases were just new born babies that have been abused. Helping the children get therapy with their families or get adopted was the most heartbreaking yet rewarding act I have done to this day! There are many organizations to choose from you just have to go with what your heart tells you.
You moved from Miami to the Bahamas, was going from city life to island life a big transition for you?
After meeting the love of my life nothing was too difficult to do. I must say that I love the city and enjoy it very much but I also came from an island so it was very much exciting to go back to one. The funny thing is I always said I would end up back on an island and use to say maybe "Bahamas" one day...well it came true so be careful what you wish for! The first year took some adjusting, everything is slower and where I live it's considered to be a developing nation so it was difficult at first. I definitely miss the freeways I am the kind of girl that likes to put the pedal to the metal and living on an island that's 21 miles long hitting 50 is the highlight of my driving. There are many things I miss about city life but at heart I am a true island Gal.
Living in the Islands and working with Havaianas and Sun Bum! Two of Mina's favorite lines. Tell us what you do with them?
My husband moved to Bahamas in 2010 to open up a retail concept store on Bay Street (main shopping area in Nassau) and also has the distribution rights to Havaianas and Sun Bum Suncare products in the Caribbean. I myself help with all the social media, Marketing/Advertising and Events. Marketing on an island is a little different than the states it seems Social Media is the #1 form of Advertising to locals in Bahamas. Majority of our clients that come to the store are tourists from Cruise ships and Atlantis. You have to be very creative and work with what you got. The best part is traveling to the outer islands to set up wholesale clients and visit with the locals. Havaianas has been around since 1962 and is known around the world as the #1 flip flop line out there.
Sun Bum Suncare has been around for 2 years and we are so happy to have this new product distributed around the Caribbean, it has cool packaging with a very catchy slogan "Protect Your Lazy Ass" it doesn't get better than that. We love what we do here and have involved ourselves in donating many pairs of Havaianas and SunBum products to different fundraisers around Bahamas,Jamaica and Cayman Islands. We look forward to the future and hope to get another catchy product.
You are also making a name for yourself in the islands as the go to person to plan the perfect party! How did you get started with that?
Lol..Words spread quickly on any island but as long as it's good stuff I am all for it. Basically planning certain events/parties is what I enjoy doing. I have made friends with some fun adventurous people in Bahamas and after planning a very exciting out island trip to Long island Bahamas with a group of 10 friends which turned out to be a fantastic, I guess word spread and you become the #1 go to person to plan anything. I have helped put together a first Middle Eastern Party at a restaurant that consisted of Belly Dancer, Hookas (shishas) and Mediterranean food with Moroccan style seating/decorations. This party was a huge success and I definitely can say I am very proud of that event.I get a rush out of the excitement and stress of putting any party together, I can only hope to do many more in the near future.
What is the average day in the islands for you?
For over two months now I have been working out like never before. By 8am every morning I have started the Insanity work out program with a friend (it's always good to work out with someone it keeps you motivated). To begin my day with a work out I feel so much better and turning 34 this past year was a big reason why I am pushing harder. My day varies but I love the spontaneous moments that come up throughout my day...island hopping or running errands around Nassau on a DIY project.
What is your favorite hobby/passion?
My dream is to one day build a house under water... I am a mermaid at heart and live love everything ocean! I did a Scuba Diving Course and got a certificate in Open Water Diver. I truly am fascinated with what lives beneath our sea and the rush I get while diving, there is no explaining it. Recently I was able to swim with around 40 sharks surrounding me and watched the instructor feed them it was exhilarating. Next stop cage shark diving. I recommend this to anyone with an adventurous spirit.
What is your favorite thing about Mina Miami Beach?
I love that I can walk into Mina and get styled from head to toe and walk out feeling like I got unique items that won't be on every other girl I see in the streets. It's great to have a selection of fashion jewelry, clothes, bikinis and more it's a one stop shop. It also does not hurt to have 3 gorgeous sisters helping you at times, it's like having your own personal stylist right when you walk in their door.
Tell us your favorite beauty secret.
What advice would you give to young girls today?
Believe in yourself, never settle for anything less than what you deserve. Read books that inspire you, explore and live life to the fullest. Choose your thoughts carefully .. you are a masterpiece of your life!
Leave us with your favorite quote!
Oh man I have so many... but here are two of my favs.
"Always trust your inner sparkle"
"I wanna know what you're thinking so I can get you to think what I'm thinking" - Ari Gold