Last month I attended WTM London 2018. It was a eye opening experience, in terms of how different the travel infulencer’s world is. I learnt a great deal about the level of professionalism that is expected. The show was outstanding. It really showcased the different countries and gave a flavour of the various cultures and travel opportunities. I wrapped up the final day by attending the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s sunset party. While at the party I met Ms Leeann Goddard, the reigning Ms Trinidad and Tobago UK 2018. We spoke a bit about her lifestyle brand Klassi Bodyz and I knew I had to interview her properly, so, I could share her story with you.
This is Leeann’s interview.
TTT: Tell us a bit about yourself.
LG: This is always an interesting question because I never know where to start and where to finish. However, I’ll admit I am still a daddy’s girl at 30 and I am the oldest of three with two younger brothers. I was born in Trinidad and raised part of an extended family until I was 17. Sadly, my mother passed away at the young age of 35 but then I was comforted knowing I’ve gained an angel and she will always be looking over me as promised. The year was 2005, I lost my best friend, moved to a new country, started living with my father for the first time, started college and pretty much it was like pushing the reset button as my life changed forever.
During that year I learnt that change is inevitable and being adaptable is essential, I am thankful I was raised to be strong, fearless and an independent thinker which prepared me for my new journey. Over the years, I’ve used and will continue to use my past as motivation for not limiting myself to new possibilities such as being the first person in my family to graduate university and for embracing all that life brings. I value honesty, loyalty and my bond with my family, friends and God. Maybe in a follow up interview I will share more J.
TTT: Who were your beauty and fashion icons growing up?
LG: To be honest growing up in a poor family without most luxuries such as electricity we didn’t own a television for many years or had spare money for magazines so I knew very little about celebrities or fashion trends. However, I proudly grew up admiring my mother, she was beautiful and in my eyes very stylish.
I learnt to embrace my natural beauty and that remains the basis of my personal style today and my lifestyle brand Klassi Bodyz.
TTT: You are the reigning Ms Trinidad & Tobago UK. How has the title changed your life to date?
LG: It has truly been an incredible honour winning the title. The whole process starting from the interview stage, to the training days, to the final show and all the appearances before and after the crown has help me to grow outside my comfort zone. I’m usually quite outgoing but it’s totally different being in the spotlight among large groups and also when you grow from taking selfies to being photographed.
More importantly, I’ve been specially invited to numerous events where I’ve met some amazing people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise such as Mr Rudolph Walker, Sir Clive Lloyd, Miss World Guyana 2018 Ambika Ramraj and most recently Miss Universe GB 2018 Dee-Ann Kentish-rogers and so much more. These are experiences I will take with me throughout life and happily share with others with the hope that they too can be inspired.
TTT: What does being body confident mean to you?
LG: Personally, being body confident means accepting your unique body type for the way it truly is and not allowing yourself to be pressured by false social media imagery or negative opinions of others. Sadly, having a negative body image is a serious topic within society today and can have strong physical, emotional and psychological consequence on those affected.
I believe the way you view yourself strongly influence the way others may view you, so it’s important to speak positively about yourself and walk in that confidence daily. It’s also important to remember no one is perfect and self-love starts from within.
TTT: What was the catalyst for starting your business Klassi Bodyz?
LG: Good question.The catalyst for starting my lifestyle brand Klassi Bodyz was my burning desire for change. The last full time job I had was as a fitness manager and for my whole working life in general I’ve always worked on various shift patterns. It’s a fact we all need money but I found myself being quite unhappy and unfulfilled but I always believed I was capable of doing/being more.
Naturally, I’m quite ambitious, good at connecting with others and for the first time I really stopped to explore my passions and abilities to design a way I can have the flexibility and pleasure I desired from a career. Taking everything I knew about fitness, my interest in social media, my many experiences and desire to help, I wanted to inspire others both locally and internationally and show that it is never too late to pursue your dreams and truly live your best life.
TTT: How can we live the #klassilifestyle?
LG: Everyone, male and female can live the #klassilifestyle by simply challenging their personal views to embrace the best version of themselves daily. It’s not like going on a crash diet to achieve a particular result in a short space of time then reverting to old habits once the need is met.
The #klassilifestyle is more than the clothes or makeup you wear but mostly includes the positive affirmations you make to yourself daily which motivates you on your bad days and uplift you further on your good days. Ultimately, if we’re all living a better/happier life we’ll also treat each other better.
TTT: What advice would you give to a fellow expat wanting to start a small business in London?
LG: A main piece of advice is to be realistic. Know that success don’t come overnight and it may take a few tries to establish your vision.
Moving to London is not a magical land where life automatically becomes better, you may have little or no family and even fewer neighbours to assist you if in need so you’ll have to work twice as hard to maintain yourself.
Legally, you’ll also have to do your business research and get any insurances you may need to trade effectively.
TTT: Finish the sentence, ‘yuh is ah true Trini fuh true when….
LG: …you start a sentence with “eh watch nah…’
There’s a lot more I can say towards these questions but I hope what was shared would be useful. Thanks for this opportunity to share part of my story.