What empowers you most?
I’m empowered by successfully accomplishing a goal or given task. I don’t always do what I set out to do, and I don’t always do it well. But when I do, it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world and it empowers me to do more, to do something bigger, and to do something better.
What is it that you love most about yourself?
I love how independent I can be. I moved out when I was 21 and still in University, and I’ve been able to support myself ever since. I work well with others but I’m comfortable tackling big projects on my own. I moved to a small town last year and even though I miss my friends and family, being without them for most of the year allows me to focus on some self-improvement; being independent allows be to be comfortable with being alone.
What makes you feel most beautiful?
Is it superficial or conceited that I feel most beautiful when I look in the mirror? Not always of course, but a good chunk of the time. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t overweight. It’s something I’ve been dealing with since I was a kid, and let’s be honest; it’s probably something I’ll always be dealing with. But when I look in the mirror, I don’t see a fat girl. I see a woman with both chubby cheeks and well-defined cheekbones, curves upon curves, and dare I say…a pretty firm booty.
Who is your biggest role model and why?
My role models aren’t internationally or historically known; they’re women I follow on social media who have crushed their business goals that are similar to mine. Those women include:
Natasha Koifman, founder and President of NKPR, a public relations firm based in Toronto and New York
Christine Faulhaber, President & CEO of Faulhaber Communications in Toronto
Shauna MacDonald, Principal & founder of Brookline Public Relations in Calgary – someone I had the pleasure of working with for a 3-week internship
These women have worked extremely hard to get to where they are today and I’m looking forward to the point in my life where I’ve built up enough experience and have accomplished as many goals as they have. I also consider some of the peers I went to Red River College as role models. So many of them have accomplished so much in the short time since they’ve graduated, and it’s exciting to see their success unfold:
Jackie Wild, Owner of Digital Ink Creative
Monique Pantel, Owner of Pantel Photography
Rachelle Taylor, Creator of Prairie Yogi Magazine
Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Do Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham count? I only fell in love with them recently, but I truly admire how comfortable they are with themselves, how hilarious they are, and how successful they turned out to be despite many awkward and seemingly failing moments in their lives.
If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day, who would it be and why?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. There’s so many great female characters out there to choose from. This will probably change with my mood, but right now I’d like to be Brooke Davis from One Tree Hill for a day. She started her own clothing line in high school, which soon turned into her own empire that was recognized internationally. Pretty cool stuff, no?
What is your biggest goal in life?
I’m slowly but surely working towards being the founder and CEO of my own public relations firm. Ever since I was a kid I’ve known I wanted to build my own business from the ground up. The type of business I wanted to run changed numerous times from a babysitting business, to a bakery, to photography studio. But running my own PR firm is something I’ve dreamed of for a long time and I can’t wait until that dream becomes a reality. I’ve always seen myself as a strong woman with big goals, and so far I’ve achieved a lot, which leads me to believe that this is something I can do.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Graduating from both The University of Winnipeg and Red River College never really seemed like a big deal to me. I always knew I was going to go to a post-secondary school; I never really saw it as an option not to. And it wasn’t like I had the type of family who pressured me to go to university or college. As a kid I wanted to go because I saw it on TV and in movies and it looked like fun. As a teenager I figured I needed a diploma or a degree to get a good job. University or college was simply just something I was going to do. But here I am a few years after graduating and I’m just now starting to realize what a big accomplishment that is. I’m the first person in my family since my grandpa to get a post-secondary education. My mom was a single parent on welfare and I still went to university. There are a number of obstacles that could’ve prevented me from furthering my education, but I looked passed all of those things and just kept working towards something I wanted, and I got it.
What is your favourite quote?
I have so many so I’ll give you three random ones:
"There is no force equal to that of a determined woman."
"Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you ever imagined"
"Style is a way of saying who you are without having to speak." - Rachel Zoe
If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
I would tell myself to make sure I keep a strong focus on my health. It’s easier to maintain a healthy diet and an active lifestyle when you’re younger. Trying to get into those habits when you’re older isn’t impossible, but it definitely takes a lot more effort and self-control.
What does feminism mean to you?
To me feminism is about women empowering and encouraging other women to be who they are, while trying to mould an environment to one in which we feel safe and comfortable with our true selves. It’s about building each other up and helping each other realize our full potential; we’re capable of anything and sometimes we need to remind each other of that. Now this is not to say that men can’t be feminists, but feminism wouldn’t even exist without us fierce females.
Charmaine is the Owner of Strategic Charm Boutique in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada