As I peruse back to 2010 on Facebook, trying to put myself into the mindset of someone who’s intently focused but yet so spiritually centered; it’s obvious that my words will never completely serve 27-year-old Selina Brown justice. By her own admission, there are many facets to her being.‘That’s a bloody understatement,’ I reply, when her timeline is filled with profound statements and visual keepsakes of her many fearless adventures. Do I start at her humble beginnings in a one-room flat with mum and younger sister, or now, with a recent feature in the Voice newspaper which declared to everyone that she is indeed, living the dream? Neither one. I decide a non-linear approach is best to document this overdue chat with Selina – friend, visionary and creative entrepreneur.
‘When we first met in 2008 working on the Balsall Heathan [magazine] we’d have lots of conversations about fear and judgement. You didn’t divulge much about yourself but I knew you were going through your own coming of age. Describe the Selina before the awakening?’
‘Wow. You brought me back. The girl that used to come to St. Paul’s everyday was still exploring. She – I’m going to talk in third person – wanted to see the world. She knew that she was chosen to do something very special and knew she was going to do it. She’d just learnt how to totally love herself so everything that I was explaining to you was what I was currently learning. By passing it onto you I was reconfirming it to myself as well.’
Spoken with an almost ethereal tone of voice, I got the impression of a wise woman visualising her younger, more naïve self. As we recollect, there’s a soundless rhythm that orchestrates her expression, as though she’s guided by more than the physical.
The future might have been uncertain but Selina was sure of one thing: her career would be in the media – a fusion of events, design and business as she found the prospect of self-employment too alluring to settle for the restrictive 9-5. After hopping to another desk job at the West Midlands Faiths Forum, the business dream persisted leaving her with only two choices: stay and resent it, or free herself. Third option: get made redundant.
‘I totally got pushed to do what I wanted to. I was actually rejoicing at the fact that the organisation was going to be closed down because I was too fearful to really step into what I wanted to be.’
Clearly fate had stepped in but the pivotal moment was yet to come, and it involved jetting off on a plane to the other side of the Atlantic. One heap of faith later in 2011, Selina made for the Big Apple, settling into an apartment overlooking the Hudson River – working in the city, thrift shopping by weekend and discovering who she wanted to become more than ever before.
‘In New York I met people who personified my dreams. Everything just became a big possibility,’ she reminisced.
What she didn’t guess, was that those two years would become life-changing. Not only did Selina’s network flourish, she became part-vegan while training as a Womb Wellness Practitioner, (your guess is as good as mine) and envisioned Little Miss Creative – an empowerment network for young, fabulous women.
‘I think it was more for me [laughs] because I came back and there was nobody! I’d been in New York for two years surrounded by so many creative people that it was the norm to talk creativity, veganism, art – everything that I like – but when I came back there was nobody to talk to! Yes, I had my friends but on a collective level there were no real groups.’
February 2013 – Little Miss Creative’s debut into the UK. Picture a basement full of women in Birmingham’s quirky Six Eight Café, all with an eclectic outer appearance and shared desire for happiness; bellowing affirmations and connecting with other creatives in the city. Launching its website on Valentines Day with the sentimental Love Letters campaign, the popular group boasts just under 1,000 twitter followers and takes the first step towards being global with an exciting launch in New York, later this year.
Perhaps this explains why one of Selina’s goals in life is to own an aeroplane?
‘I love travelling and I know certain people on this planet don’t have the ability to leave their country, or their city even. If I have my own plane, I can put them on for free and allow them to experience that sensation every time I get on a plane and experience a new culture.’
During my friendship with Selina, I’ve realised that she has a huge urge to give back; rooted in her belief of the boundless laws of attraction. In 2013 she raised enough funds to send a young Gambian boy to school for a year, serving as the inspiration for her first self-directed documentary, Smile Gambia. [click here] Launched through communications agency Creative High, business venture number two is charity Dream Big, set up to promote greatness in young people.
‘I have three passions and business being one of them, that’s my Creative High outlet; charity being very dear to me, that’s Dream Big; and just young women and empowerment, that’s LMC. I’ve split it up but they all drive me individually and I love them all equally.’
Without attaching a Beyonce-style, ‘Girls run the world’ rhetoric to Selina’s story, having experienced hardship early on in life her mother was the catalyst for the woman she is today. We don’t spend too much time dwelling on the negative, not to say we skirt over it but Selina doesn’t do clichés, and she isn’t on Skype to tell a sob story.
‘The struggle was hard. Having no food in the fridge and seeing your mum cry because she can’t make ends meet, having to light candles because there was no electric – that was our upbringing. However my mum always – she’s the most amazing person on this planet – she was positive about everything and was able to go through university with two children under the age of whatever – she made it happen.
‘We were living on the poverty line but my mother didn’t have a poverty mindset. That’s what set us apart and made me what I am now.’
When Selina first approached me about doing an interview last summer while on her second visit to New York, I anticipated how I’d be able to encapsulate all that she is in one feature. Let me say, though we’re towards the end, it has not gotten any easier. She’s an earthy woman who likes to connect and ‘just breathe.’ Who has plenty to share but yet loves silence so much she drives without music. With a seductive drone to her voice she tells me how in her spare time she likes to: watch films, burn incense, have herbal baths with ‘proper herbs, petals or flowers,’ paint, write in her journal, lie on grass and watch the stars. An avid juicer, yogi and serene being, I can’t fathom how she fits into the rigid corporate environment?
‘When I envision a businesswoman, I look at it holistically. Meditating, keeping peaceful, staying committed, having integrity, thinking outside of the box, all makes me a good businesswoman.
‘This is so deep but knowing that there are energies and forces out there willing for you to succeed keeps me going everyday. I’m just so thankful and blessed to be as far as I am.’
‘A lot of the ventures you start, you do so on a whim. No set plan necessarily, [she laughs because it’s true] no money – you just see the end and work backwards. How do you make the impossible, possible?’
‘[Pause for thought] It’s multilayered that question because I totally believe that the universe supports you in your purpose. All of the resources will come but you’ve got to take the journey, and I don’t work in isolation. I have an invisible team of my ancestors, the universe, energies, all of that – it’s not just me.
‘I’m also very much a ‘just do it’ person. If I have an idea I don’t think of the limitations or what could possibly go wrong, I just do it. I’m a perfectionist and I try my damn hardest at everything I do and that’s how I’ve been able to last as long.’
‘There must be some advice you wish you’d been given starting out?’
‘Save as much money as possible and don’t buy stupid pieces of clothing that will end up going to charity. Obviously take every opportunity that you have to travel, write down all of your ideas and act upon as many as possible. I’ve had so many great ideas but procrastination can get in the way so be fearless.’
Though we weren’t connected by camera, (well I was, she didn’t turn hers on) I nodded in agreement as Selina doesn’t just talk a good game, she practices it like a pro. She then reveals something out of the ordinary; one very important ritual inspired strangely by a primetime television series.
‘I have a vision board and a vision wall but I also CSI my life every Monday morning so between those three things I do religiously, my room is covered in quotes. When I say ‘CSI’, when they’re trying to catch a criminal they usually have whiteboards and draw out a whole plan of action of how they’re going to do it so I do that too every single Monday.’
Never heard it put like that before but that’s the fun about Selina, she’s an eccentric.
As we draw our chat to an end it’s approaching 9pm. We’ve been on Skype for nearly 45 minutes and Selina has one of her events to pass through – no surprise another music fundraiser, this time for the Philippines but we continue talking for a few more minutes as we’re reminded of each other’s successes. Yes, the growth is real.
‘You must hear people say that you want too much? Can you ever see yourself getting to a point where you stop?’
In true Selina-fashion, ‘No!’ she fires back, in a way that let me know that was the dumbest question I could ask. ‘As long as you’re living, you have a purpose – that’s all I can say to that.’ But she’s nice enough to add a little bit more. ‘Even if I’m 90, I still have a purpose so I can’t sit there and do nothing. I want to leave a legacy. My dream, my goal is to leave a legacy. People are going to write about me in history books so until that has been accomplished, I will remain on this planet doing what I’m doing. There’s no stopping.’