I used to joke that Judette Coward could make oatmeal exciting.
And then she did, with a Forward Forty video on How to Make An Amazing Bowl of Oatmeal. Bananas, cinnamon and some cane sugar are involved there, but the most important ingredient in this new lifestyle digital series is Judette's unending optimism, and faith in a new collective of women that has sprung up online.
I first met Judette about a zillion years ago when she was a producer at TV6 and I was inflicting myself on another newspaper. I used to wonder where she got her happy pills. She always had a brilliant smile and ended her emails with one word "Joy.''
Ordinarily, that sort of thing would be too Disney for an old Grinch like me, but Judette's light spirit is irresistible.
Forward Forty is a series of blogs and videos on fashion, wellness, beauty, travel, hair care, work-life balance, and just living life more fully. It speaks to women 40-plus but younger women are also attracted because, after all, there is no age requirement for being fabulous.
The first video was created around the beginning of this year and women responded so enthusiastically, the series kept growing.
After a short hiatus, Judette launched the series earlier this month, in a chic event, and here we are–our own voices, our own showcase, our own movement where women can rock and roll, sharing tips, techniques, and experiences, on whatever interests them, without apology.
So if we want to talk about how to create the perfect plum pout or six ways to wear a simple white shirt, we can.
Who says powerful, confident, intelligent women can only get together in book clubs or charitable events without being deemed frivolous?
Now, I should probably be jabbing Judette in the eye with a tube of lipstick because the "stylista opinionista" platform is my territory. But there is always room for new ideas, more talent, and a fresh voice to remind us that we deserve to chase our dreams.
The thing about Judette that puzzles and inspires is that she never gives up.
She is absolutely fearless when she decides to take a leap–like walking away from a good job at TV6 to form her own communications firm; like sinking all her savings into an investment property; like opening a pre-school called Mango House in Chaguanas, while still running her Mango Media Communications firm; like marrying a curly-haired charmer she met while on vacation in Italy, never mind he barely spoke English and her Italian came from a phrase book.
Even when things don't quite work out, she hangs in there, not grudgingly, not stingily, but with a reservoir of energy that never seems to dry up.
Sure, she has had her pain–bad stuff happens to everyone. But she still kicks assets in her skyscraper heels and crisp culottes.
When I found out her marriage to the cute Italian had ended, I wanted to throw something at a wall. I had so enjoyed the boy-meets-girl-and-moves-half-way around-the-world-to-be-with-girl story. But, shucks.
The woman didn't even say a bad word about him; instead she calls him an amazing guy and says impossibly sensible and perky things like, "When love transforms, it doesn't have to be bitter or ugly.''
Any woman who can do that without the help of medication and giant margaritas must have something to say that is worth listening to.
Join the conversation at www.forwardforty.com.
Then tell me what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org