Fashion Director | Storyteller
You sure feel that ‘confidence-in-skin’ vibe when you come face to face with Laura Dowrich-Phillips. It is like a halo radiating outwardly before she even opens her mouth. She affirms this acquisition of bravura, which did not come easily, on her reaching half of a century, batting, robustly, in her innings, as it were, with adaptive and quickly adopting practices which continue to fortify her in her role as a stalwart in cultural journalism, regionally.
This cultural activist assumed her role swiftly as she found her calling in media, granted that she says matter-of-factly that she started out in the south chamber of Guardian Media, 26 years ago, simply looking to find a job. And indeed, this job has become her career, her vocation and her passion.
Her mantra, she posits, ‘is that everything I do must be able to inform, educate and entertain”. She is all about service, passionately desirous of showcasing Caribbean talent which, she has determined, abounds in our hemisphere.
And she has grown from strength to strength, armouring herself with a resilient disposition, I dare say, a gumption, that equips her to change the narrative and impact readers with a transformative chronicling of our Caribbean cultural experiences and festival traditions.
The diversity of experiences
Laura speaks from the soul, filled with joy, about her accumulated wealth of experience and her capacity and connoisseurship to shift our Caribbean consciousness, through her craft. No idle boast, when she references the opportunity, she had to be mentored by Richard Stolley, founding editor of People Magazine, who formulated the criteria of what makes a front cover, which magazines still follow to this day, during a programme for mid-level publishing professionals, at Stanford University.
“Every day feels like a brand new day for me, I still have so much to accomplish,” says this first time Gabo Fellow, in 2019, as a Caribbean journalist, in Cartagena, Colombia. Humble, indeed, about her achievements and also being the singular English-speaking journalist to cover the 2013 Diageo Bartending Finals on a Mediterranean cruise. She reminisces, with consummate joie de vivre, about sitting in a bullring in Barcelona, to witness the winning awards, partying on the rooftop of the Ushuaïa Tower in Ibiza, experiencing Nice and Saint-Tropez, on that trip, as more than a memorable sojourn, and coins it as “the pinnacle of her travelling experience”, thus far.
More than a Labour of Love
She admits it is more than a labour of love, working in the media, for one’s mental health is bombarded by the good, the bad, and oftentimes, the very ugly. She has found grounding in utilizing support and urges all to seek therapy as a source of balance, if not done through private practice expertise, then through a public sector agency. ”It is absolutely needed!” she asserts categorically. It’s okay to be challenged, it’s not okay to ignore your cognitive needs.
Fifty, the Turning Point
Laura Dowrich Phillips avows that she has been gifted to contribute to shaping our appreciation of our prolific regional talents. She is a digital content creator, editor and podcaster, excited about the next chapter of her life. She sees fifty as a turning point, an experiential crossroad, a watershed period and an ultimate new beginning. There is so much to do, to achieve, I am excited!”
She manoeuvres with much more conviction, aware of all that she is, shedding hang-ups about superficial evaluations with a repurposed credo, through her self-discovery, to empower others.
She opines, quite assuredly, as if speaking cosmically to the universe, “put no limitations on self, let your talent shine and never compromise integrity.”
She is so energized by her evolving liberation, cognizant that time is not as infinite as it seemed when we were younger, so much so, that she is compelled to make the best of it, not confining herself by her gender, race, body type, or any prototype profiling. She enthuses, with a comfort-in-her-own-skin persona, that “we, women, can take up space and be whatever and whoever we want to be!”
I felt as if she was channeling the ethos of the lyrics of an old chart topper of the 1970’s that became a symbol of profound change for women, the world over.
“Oh yes I am wise,
But it’s wisdom, born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price,
But look how much I gained.
If I have to,
I can do anything,
I am strong,
I am invincible,
I am woman!”
~ Helen Reddy