At the age of 33, Michelle Elsa Borel has done it all: a mother of three, a broadcaster for 16 years, brand manager for a popular fast food chain, a student at Costaatt, a pastry chef and now a published poet. Soulspection is the title of Borel's first book of poetry and it will be on the shelves of bookshops by the end of the month.
Soulspection will have its official launch on November 27 and will be available at Charran's Bookstore nationwide. Borel will also be the feature speaker at the commemoration of National Poetry Day 2016, to be held on October 15 at the AV Room, Nalis, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, at 6 pm.
The daughter of promoter Roxanne Browne-Philips and Jean Borel, Borel was christened Michelle Elsa but also answers to Fekerte Selassie and attended St Francois Girls' College. She credits her upbringing and childhood with allowing her to become the respected professional she is today.
Today a much listened-to broadcaster, Borel spoke of those who influenced her. She said: "I had the pleasure of growing up with my grandparents, John and Elsa Borel, and I had so many wonderful teachers at St Francois who truly helped to mold me and gave me the encouragement I needed to become a broadcaster.
"The teacher who discovered my talent was my Geography teacher, Mrs Gomez. The teacher who fueled my love for English Literature was the inspiring Ms Baldwin. It was at St Francois that I started hosting shows held by the school. This was a great vehicle that gave me the drive I needed to become a broadcaster.
"Thankfully, I have had the privilege of being encouraged by a melange of figures who gave their all to their craft, and their passion was contagious. I cannot forget mentors like Tony Lee, Dale Enoch, Adrian Don Mora, Carl Beaver Henderson and Ian Eligon, not to mention both of my grandmothers–Elsa Borel and Yvonne Browne–and my mother Roxanne.
"A child learns not only by what they are told, but mostly by what they see. I saw my mother writing down any idea that came to her mind, at any hour in the morning. I saw her put it into action, I saw a woman who was passionate and filled with so much love that went beyond family and extended to even strangers.
"Roxanne Browne, my mother, has a natural ability to speak her mind without offending. Her patriotism has led to the introduction of many local names within the music industry. More importantly, she never looked back, but she moved forward. Her ideas she never slept on, but ensured they woke up with her. Despite how busy she was, she always had time to listen to my poetry. However, maybe the passion within us is being passed on from generation to generation.
"The same could be said of my grandmother, Yvonne Browne. When you wake up, ensure your dreams wake up with you. It is difficult for me to state who I am, without being thankful for who backed me. I started writing at eight years of age and won a writing competition held by one of our local newspapers. I continued writing and, at times, have found myself–when the writing bug caught me–not being able to eat, sleep or do anything but engulf myself in it. Each one I carried to my mother like a gift. Even now, at 33 years of age, when I write I let her hear it, and she would always say, 'go write some more'."
Daily, Borel continues to aspire and reach for the stars. Her quest is to inspire everyone she interacts with, whether in person or on the air.
"I have been a broadcaster for the past 16 years, the last ten years 107.7FM," she said.
"Music for Life has been my on-air home. In addition to that, I am the brand manager for Popeye's. I am presently a student at Costaatt.
"In everything, my greatest accomplishment is having the treasure of three amazing children who I refer to as my Faith, Hope and Love, because of the powerful meaning of their names. They are Elijah, Chaydaa and Faith Thorpe. We live in Chaguanas. I love baking and anything creative.
"What consistently motivates me is knowing that I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. I pay attention to detail. I believe if there is a desire in your heart, that it is there for a reason, and you must put your passion into action. Our life is in vain if we do not share of ourselves and while given the breath of life, use it each day to be better. Just one thing a day to get you closer to your goal–just one."
Of her book Soulspection, Borel shared that she has included some pieces which she wrote when she was just 15.
Borel spoke about her poetry process: "I am very much an empath, so although it may appear as though I speak from a first person standpoint in some pieces, it may be someone else's pain that I carried with me (and am expressing).
"Some pieces are reflective of some of my personal encounters. Other work within this collection touches on general subject areas, while some poems are thoughts that kept having a party in my mind. I held on to these pieces for such a long time and now that more poetry is growing inside me, I am allowing this out," she said.