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9 Things About Tiara Jea'Nae

#1 – I LOVE God

My parents raised me to love God and I could not thank them enough for that. From a young age, I attended Sunday School on a weekly basis and went to Christian summer camps. However, it was not until high school that I was forced to find my own identity in Christ. There was a period of time where I attended a different church from my family. This season allowed me to study The Word at my own leisure and create my own relationship with God. I was no longer “the daughter of so and so” or “the girl from the Christmas play”, I just became Tiara “The Jesus Freak” and I loved it!

#2 – Born in South Carolina

In 1995, I was born in Easley, South Carolina. My mother’s side is from Greenville while my father’s side is from Georgetown. The short time I lived there, a dosage of Southern Belle was injected into me. I believe in saying yes ma’am and fixing my father’s dinner plate. However what I treasure the most in South Carolina is simply my family. Even though, I do not see my cousins on a regular basis there are like sisters to me. And I LOVE my grandmother, she is one of the funniest people I know. The hour long conversations I have with her about The Bachelorette are some of my favorite moments. South Carolina has played a part in shaping my identity.

#3 – Raised in Cleveland

Although, I was born in South Carolina I AM A CLEVELANDER! I love Cleveland and everything about it. A couple of weeks ago, I tried to explain to a colleague the moment the Cleveland Cavaliers won the championship. However, I found myself unable to attached words to that feeling. Cleveland has taught me to simply have faith and keep working. There are SO many people in my city who have been fulfilling their passions for 10+ years with no visible fiscal benefit, however they are the happiest people I know. I get so much joy hearing the stories of the past and having hope for my city.

#4 – Ice Cream is my favorite food

I am lactose intolerant but LOVE ice cream, if possible I would eat ice cream for every meal each day. Furthermore, I just really love food. If you go to my Instagram you will see some of the joy that I get by indulging in delicious meals. Some of my favorite restaurants are Mitchells Ice Cream in Cleveland, The Hamilton in Washington D.C., and Hyman’s in Charleston. So, if you know of any other restaurants I should try please let me know!

#5 – I have been to South Dakota #random

Many people think there is nothing to do in South Dakota…I disagree. There is a great opportunity to serve and learn there. I went to Pine Ridge, South Dakota for a mission trip. The summer before I fell in love with mission trips after I watched another volunteer wash a homeless man’s feet in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was at that moment that I understood God wants to go outside of our bubble and serve his kingdom (because his kingdom expands beyond our comfort zone). In Cincinnati, I made a commitment to willingly serve for the rest of my life! So the next summer I landed in Pine Ridge, South Dakota with my church’s youth group. During this trip I learned more about myself and God’s beauty. Now, I continue to work with organizations like Hashtag Lunchbag to help maintain God’s kingdom.

#6 – I have traveled to four countries

I love to travel! During high school I was given the opportunity to travel outside of the country twice. My first trip I went to France, Italy, and Vienna and during my second trip I went to Turkey. Both experiences were amazing and allowed me to get a different perspective on life and see what an amazing creator God is. Even though, traveling outside of the country is fun I still appreciate a nice road trip. I love exploring new cities throughout the US and hope to reach all 50 states by the time I turn 50!

#7 – My philosophy is the blacker the college, the sweeter the juice

I attend THE BEST college, Hampton University. The Real HU is located in Virginia and considered a Historical Black College and University (HBCU). When I was applying to colleges I knew I wanted to attend an HBCU, even when many of my teachers and advisors told me not to. Still to this day, I do not regret attending Hampton University. This experience has given me the chance to be mentored by some of the most brilliant minds. I have been able to learn how to navigate my career and other aspects of life through them. Moreover, I get to attend class (…and parties) with some of the most intelligent Black millennials. Yes, there has been some bumps in the road but it has all been worth it.

#8 – I am a proud gladiator

I love T.V. and YouTube. During the fall and spring, I am at a television watching Scandal every Thursday. I love that this show has showed how powerful and influential Black women are. On the other hand, it reveals many struggles that Black women face when they reach the top. Furthermore, this show allows me to escape from my busy life for about an hour. I also have to admit my obsession with YouTube. Each night when I get home, I lay down and watch an episode of The Daily Davidsons or another YouTube family. I am not fan of “ratchet T.V.” but do like watching others do life and YouTube gives me that experience.

#9 – I simply want to bridge minds

Through this blog and my organization I hope to bridge minds. I believe that to bridge minds you have to strategically foster conversations. This idea is the main reason why I started, Building Bridges. The goal of Building Bridges is to bridge the gap between suburban and inner-city youth to create solutions for problems burdening the community. Attending a suburban high school and volunteering at an inner-city school, I saw that each school had problems they were just different. Moreover, they both had resources that each could benefit from. Building Bridges was my way of connecting the dots. Now, I hope to use this blog to connect women across the globe. Hopefully, hearing someone else’s story will spark something in you.

Now, this is only nine things about me and through this blog you will learn even more. I am a very dynamic woman and sometimes struggle to love the characteristics God has given me. Writing this piece has allowed me to see how phenomenal I am! So I challenge you to write 9 things that you love about yourself. You can write it in your journal or even leave it in a comment below! Once you finish your list remind yourself in the mirror that you are beautifully and wonderfully made and those 9 things are just a fraction of the lovely characteristics you possess.

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