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Very happy to create and share content that isn't perhaps for everyone, but is a reflection of who I am and what I am all about. I hope you find what you are looking for, have a laugh or two with me and leave feeling uplifted or inspired to share your story and experiences with others...including me!
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Paula Collins, or as many lovingly call her ‘Paula from Masala’ is a well known business owner and leader in Saskatoon. Owner and CEO of Masala Model & Talent, Paula opened her agency and personal development school in September of 2000 and is celebrating 20 years in business this year! Anyone looking at the roster of talent can see why Paula chose 'MASALA' for her business name…it means “a mixture of exotic spices” which certainly describes her beautiful and diverse agency.
Paula is a mentor, motivational speaker and community leader - not just in Saskatchewan but in her agency community across North America. She is the only black female agency owner in Western Canada and takes her job to promote ALL shapes, sizes and colours of beauty across borders very seriously. This has been to the benefit of many BIPOC who work and travel the globe under the wing of the Masala brand and support team.
My time with Paula is always entertaining. We usually have a chuckle and a story to share both ways - there is always some side eye as she calls me out on some bullshit I've tried to feed her. Paula has a good read on good people, and even better read on not so good people. Our chat via zoom was like an in person meeting - although the subject matter was more serious. While many know Masala's owner as a vivacious and energetic woman, big hair and even bigger personality - what they often don't hear about are some of the painful memories she has growing up, Black on the Canadian prairies. Paula was born in the Louisville, Mississippi and moved to Kentucky with her family where she lived her first few years in a predominantly all African-American community. We are talking in the South of the USA. Her family moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the 70s - still a very predominantly white community today, can you imagine 40 + years ago? Our chat covers the sensitive matter of racism at home, the Black Lives Matter protest and uprising across the globe as well, bringing it back to Saskatchewan and Canada with our Indigenous community. From 2016 when she led and organized the first BLM rally to today, 2020 with new organizers, a lot has changed in our social, economic and political climate…I ask her what is different and where she thinks we need to go.
Candid and unscripted - much like you would expect from both Paula and myself, we still laughed and of course, openly used profanity. This time we just recorded it. My hope is that you can take some learning from this conversation and be willing to have uncomfortable talks with your circle of friends, colleagues, family members et al. The issue of racism is NOT a Black, Indigenous or POC issue - responsibility belongs to those who continue to discriminate and are actively oppressing our marginalized communities. We all need to wake up to what’s happening not just in America, but in our own backyards, communities and country.
To learn about Paula Collins, Masala Model & Talent or Black Lives Matter YXE please see below:
FB: @MasalaModelTalent // @blacklivesmatteryxe
IG: @MasalaModelTalent // @blacklivesmatteryxe