For the Love of Living Healthy with Tamika Quinn
The lovely Tamika Quinn is a force to be reckoned with here in the Hampton Roads area of Southeastern Virginia and abroad. It is my esteem pleasure to share with our readers a little of her fabulous story of survival in the midst of adversity. She has surpassed the point of launching a business, supporting our youth, and promoting weight loss, Tamika is also a 2016 “American Heart Association STROKE HERO” and 2016 “ACHI MENTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER”.
This Philly native has a fondness for cooking healthy creative meals for her family and friends. Tamika has several interesting and dynamic business ventures in the works. Are you excited yet? Let’s jump into her interview, as she shares her extensive knowledge in its purest form.
Q: Tell our readers what the hashtag #FatGirl2GlamGirl represents?
A: #FatGirl2GlamGirl is my Life literally! There are some folks, who are offended by hearing the word “fat”, but I’ve long ago prayed about it and I’m sticking with it. I would rather offend you into changing your lifestyle than pacify you into settling for your current situation. I’ve never been a “sugar coater”. God don’t bless no mess, is what I was taught. I was a fat girl (heaviest cheerleader on the squad), so I’m more than qualified to speak on it. I was so overweight I can remember being out of breath regularly. Simple things like carrying groceries from the car into the house or walking upstairs in my own home was exhausting. I was embarrassed, but also frustrated. I used to sweat profusely even when no one else was warm in my 20’s and 30’s suffering from uncontrolled high blood pressure.
At 27 years old I had not one, but two strokes. Hen I think about the magnitude of how grave my prognosis was I immediately begin to thank God because I know it was Only Him who has restored me. I had an intracranial bleed on the right side of my brain. I thought it was a really bad migraine. I want your readers to understand the warning signs that I should’ve known there was a problem, but I was ONLY 27 years old. I never thought I could have a stroke at that age. The headache became worse to the point my vision was slightly impaired. My blood pressure was extremely high. I drove myself to a Patient First and they actually sent me home (to die). Later that evening my husband drove me to the Emergency Room where the last thing I remember was walking through the doors seeing only the color red, but having an overwhelming feeling that I was going to die. I made my husband (deceased now) promise me that he would take care of our kids. I was later told I urinated on myself and was rushed back. I woke up 3 days later in ICU with tubes and cords everywhere. My memory was broken and missing. The entire left side of my body was paralyzed and I had no control over using the bathroom. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse I had a 2nd stroke in the frontal lobe of my brain while in ICU causing even more problems and further regression. My children were 10 days old, 3 yrs old and 12 yrs old. None of them were allowed in ICU where I spent the next 3 ½ weeks of my life. My mother snuck my baby girl in under her clothes twice because I was so distraught about not being with her. I spent months in rehab and even had several trips back to the operating room since from associated complications. It has been a long journey, but one thing that I know played a huge role in that experience was 1.my weight and 2. uncontrolled high blood pressure. It’s not the high blood pressure that kills us. It’s when it’s uncontrolled and mine was out of control.
More Black Women die from heart disease than any other group of people in America. 1 in 3 women will die from heart disease. It is the #1 killer of women. It’s time that we arm ourselves with information to Live and Not Die. Every piece of chicken doesn’t have to be fried.
I consider myself an official “GLAM” Girl now and that represents Giving Life and Motivation from the inside out. My #FatGirl2GlamGirl movement is all about empowerment. I am Empowering young girls and women to make a shift in thinking to be the Best in All areas of life starting with our temple (self). We have been bamboozled for far too long into thinking its okay to be overweight. It’s only okay being overweight if you want to die.
Q: How do you handle being a single mother (widow), and executive director of TLC weight loss products?
A: People ask me all the time how do I do it? Mostly how do I balance being a single Mom (widow), an Executive Director with Total Life Changes (health/weight loss products), owner of Pink Carpet Glam Girl Spa and new Author? I’m going to be completely transparent. I believe balance is vastly different for everyone. My life may seem completely chaotic to one person, yet completely normal to someone else. I keep focused to remain sane. My focus is Faith, Family and Finances (in that order). Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I immediately know that I’m out of alignment somewhere. Likely giving one area of my life too much attention or one area not enough attention. There’s no time ever that money will come before my kids or my family before God. As long as God is the head of my household and I keep the order maintained, everything works out just fine.
I excelled pretty quickly in TLC, even with kids and other businesses because networking is something I do with ease, but I’m also not new to this environment. I have 17 years experience in the network marketing industry. I started out with Home Interiors & Gifts before Cashara started walking. She has literally grown up in the shadow of entrepreneurship. I have reached the top of not just 1, but 2 previous MLM companies. I was a Bronze Executive Director and Area Coordinator with Prepaid Legal Services (now called Legal Shield). I also have experience in Corporate America in sales and training. Just as much success as I’ve had in my past, I’ve had twice as much failure. There are many things that I wish I had done differently. There are lots of things over the years that I’ve learned and grown from. The person that I am today is not the same person I was 17 years ago both personally and professionally. To anyone regardless of your circumstances, you can achieve greatness if you want it bad enough. Everyone had a starting point and hard work plus determination always pay off.
One thing that I love about the industry of multi-level marketing is the systems that are already in place. There is little room for error if you follow the system. Of course results vary, but it usually goes back to how well you follow proven systems for success. No matter what part of the country you’re in, whenever you walk into a McDonald’s the fries are to the left and the shakes are to the right. It’s their system. No matter what you do in life either follow a system or develop one.
Q: What inspired you to open Pink Carpet Glam Girl Spa?
A: Pink Carpet Glam Girl Spa was initially formed lying on my deceased husband’s hospital bed. Him and I talked about everything under the sun and I remember one day us talking about how I could stay home to take care of him as he fought thyroid cancer, but still earn money to take care of us. We had so many plans, so many different ideas, but the spa was one. It was one of the natural things that I did anyway that could somehow be monetized. I truly believe that’s the key. When we tap into what we already have within us, it can become fruitful because that’s what God gave us to prosper. I had thrown lavish kid parties for years. My friends and family had always called me for decorating ideas and party suggestions. I used to bake cakes for a living for parties and weddings, so it truly came naturally.
Later on during his battle he brought it up again as the kids were in the room to get their input as a family and they got excited about it and literally gave suggestions for a name for our “family business”. That idea coupled with years of experience planning lavish parties for all 3 of my kids manifested not long after my husband’s death. It was almost natural to do this. Diving head first into this project/business venture was actually what kept me from completely sinking into a pit of depression after he passed away. The time energy and money I had to invest in this business gave me something to redirect my attention towards. As much as people feel like I’m helping their daughters, they are truly helping me. This business has been a family collaboration with my children. Without them being completely on board with the “team plan”, I would not be where I am today.
I’ve always been very open with my children about decisions that I make and more importantly Why I make certain decisions. I think it’s more important to teach your children “to think” vs telling them “what to think”. Believe it or not, most of my business decisions have been discussed and planned out with my children prior to execution because it will involve them. Whether it is them physically participating in the business venture (which my children always have) or sacrificing time away from me, they are impacted. I think that’s the biggest “fail” going into business that many people make is not getting their family on board with them from the beginning. Getting the “buy in” is a MUST!!! Your family must buy in to your vision. We discuss time, energy and money required to make any venture successful. When I first opened Pink Carpet Glam Girl Spa roughly at the $25k spot of investing just to get the business open, I sat down with my children and showed them all the plans that were going into the project, how
much money it would cost and how much had been paid thus far. They were blown away, but it didn’t really hit them until I said I know you guys are used to taking a couple vacations every year, but this 1st year that we’re open we are gonna have to make some sacrifices. They eagerly awaited the run down. I started off with simple things. I said we won’t be able to get brand name groceries for a while. They were in total agreement. Every time I would take something away, I would give something back (catch that) to look forward to. I assured them that these sacrifices in the beginning would really pay off after the 1st year. I bet we will be able to eat out at much nicer places. Of course they got a little excited. There were other things, but the biggest obstacle was when I said we will not be able to take any vacations for the 1st year. My baby girl had a melt down (literally). She was not “buying” it at that moment. It was so over dramatic. I remember it like yesterday because my other daughter was trying to console her. I said, however if we can make it through this sacrifice, I promise it will pay off and we’ll be able to take DREAM vacations. I asked them what their dream vacation was. I can tell you it wasn’t easy in the beginning, but it was worth it! I made good on that promise. We took a 7 day Disney cruise to Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. I’m so thankful that every promise I’ve ever made to them I’ve been able to uphold because of God, hard work and determination. It’s been almost 5 years now and we’re going strong.
I had lots of help and support from my family and friends to get started. I can say I’m truly Blessed. Pink Carpet Glam Girl Spa focuses on building self-esteem in young girls. It’s not your typical “just get your nails polished spa party”. Little girls leave feeling like they’re royalty and can be anything their mind believes. For more on www.PinkCarpetGlamGirl.com
Q: Please share all of the exciting adventures of the Glam Van and Spa Parties?
A: I have seen with my own eyes the Glam Van riding down the street and kids stop in their tracks, bottom lip hung low in amazement staring at the van like OMG! What is that? I could never share all of the exciting adventures of the GLAM Van because there have been so many. From mobile spa parties to transporting groups of girls to the spa for their Pink Carpet Glam Girl Spa experience. We even did a Women’s trip to Atlanta, GA for a huge international Women’s Conference. Now that was so much Fun!! The GLAM Van gets around! Because of how artistically designed the wrap is on the outside, it also gets a lot of attention, but the hot pink interior is even cooler.
Q: Congratulations on your recent ACHI Mentor of The Year Award, how does that feel?
A: Being nominated for an ACHI Award is such an honor in itself. ACHI Magazine symbolizes strength in sisterhood. To be nominated for an award in any category means you are operating at a level of excellence in your particular industry. There were top notch women nominated in that category and honestly I felt like I won just to be as they say in church, “in the building”. Just this year I was certified nationally by John C. Maxwell as a speaker, mentor, coach and trainer. God is truly moving in my life and I am humbled and so very appreciative for all the recognition, but He gets all the Glory.
When my name was called as the winner for “Mentor of The Year” I couldn’t move. I literally felt frozen in shock. I could hear screams and cheering, but it was almost as if I had an out of body experience. When I finally made my way up to the stage I realized I had absolutely nothing prepared to say. I had no speech memorized, no names written down to say thank you. I was totally unprepared. I don’t believe I doubted I could win. I believe in my mind I had already won by being nominated and that was all I focused on.
I made it up to the middle of the stage and was handed the award. It was heavy. It was beautiful. It looked so fancy and elegant. My hands were shaking. I felt my knees buckling as hundreds of smiling faces looked at me. People who know me to be strong, yet I was fearful that I would collapse right before them. I grabbed the microphone and of course thanked God 1st, but then not knowing what I was being led to say next, I paused, waiting for the” download”. I was reminded of the reason why I was on that stage and it was because I have mentored so many women and so many girls. I shared what it felt like to grow up essentially poor in North Philadelphia, but having a mentor in every stage of my life, elementary school up until present day who believed in me and inspired me to become more. I shared how every single person in the audience was a mentor whether they realized it or not. Someone is looking at their steps and deciding if they can do “it” too. Someone is being inspired and motivated by them in some way. With each word I felt stronger and most assured of myself. It was a very surreal moment because I can remember my mentor telling me years ago that you’ll know when you’ve mastered something, because you will transform from the student to the teacher without ever thinking about it. In that moment I knew exactly what he meant.
Q: What was your motivation to co-author the book “The Woman Behind the Mask”?
A: Wow! My motivation for being a co-author of the book “The Woman Behind the Mask” was very simple. I was that woman who hid behind a mask, in fact several masks for years. I am finally getting to a place that I commonly refer to as unapologetic. I am who God made me and I refuse to live in shame about any “flaws” that I may have, any choices I have made or who I am because more importantly I know Who’s I am. God made me so imperfect in man’s image, but absolutely perfect in His image. I’m so over being concerned about the world’s standards and have totally set my eyes on pleasing God. My chapter in the book talks about my personal experience and battle with depression, an issue that many, especially in the Black community, shy away from speaking about out loud. It’s almost taboo to discuss mental illness. We talk openly about heart disease. We raise money at our jobs and in our churches for cancer research, but I promise there are far more people sitting in your church pews battling depression than cancer. My “coming out” in this book was an opportunity for me to free somebody. Often times it takes some celebrity figure that everyone looks up to make something “cool”. I’m not waiting for that to happen. I removed my mask and shared the nitty gritty about a disease that has taken so many of us out of here. I share about my psychiatric hospitalization and so much more. Mental illness affects many people and until the stigma and shame is detached from depression and other mental issues, people will continue to lose their battle with it. I pray that everyone reads “The Woman Behind the Mask”. There are 14 phenomenal women sharing personal journeys. Each one is different and unique. The book will Bless you beyond measure.
Q: As a stroke survivor, sharing your story with other women, are you feeling a sense of accomplishment?
A: Sharing my story as a Stroke Survivor I feel a sense of Purpose. I can’t explain to you how disheartening it was for years after my stroke wondering and asking God why me, to finally be in a place where I boldly say to God Why Not Me. I have grown so much as a person spiritually and mentally since having not one, but two strokes. I was on 27 years old, so young. I thought I was invincible. I was a Mom, wife, home owner and business owner. I didn’t think in a million years that something like a stroke could happen to me. I was with no use of the entire left side of my body. I went through quite a long time of physical, occupational and speech therapy. It was difficult relearning things that we normally take for granted like feeding myself, tying my shoestrings and even driving. When I think about how God restored me, I get chills throughout my body. I feel like shouting just reliving in my mind how devastating my situation was, but having unshakable faith that God would get me right where I am today. In fact, he gave me double for my trouble. I need someone to catch this…I could not walk. I spent 3 ½ weeks in ICU. I had the second stroke while in ICU. My functions decreased during my stay in the hospital. I spent a total of over a month. The doctors (experts and neurological specialist) told me that I would never be able to walk without assistance from either a walker or person. I was discharged with a walker that I refused to use. I was a fall risk because I kept getting out of my hospital bed to walk. I refused to believe the doctor’s report when I know what a mighty God I serve who said He would never leave nor forsake me. Today I walk and run. I live an abundant life and have very little residual problems from the strokes. I praise God every chance I have.
Q: What are some of your favorite things that make you smile?
A: Some of my favorite things are my children. I have 3 kids. My son, Jamir is 24 years old. My daughters Cashara 17 years old and Sequoia are 14 years old. I revolve my life around them. Also philanthropy makes me smile. I love giving back to those less fortunate. Every year I have a “Back to School GLAM Night” at a local shelter where I have local businesses help me collect book bags and fill them with supplies. We throw a pampering session at the shelter for the kids and parents. We have hairstylists and barbers donate their services free of charge. I do a motivational workshop for the Moms and this year my daughter (who is my right hand), Cashara, facilitated the mentoring workshop for the children living in the shelter. There was a D.J. to provide music and we even had MP Island Café sponsor Caribbean food. It was awesome! Things like that definitely put a smile on my face to see the residents of the PARC Family Shelter enjoying themselves and most important, the children excited to go back to school in style. LaSalle Blanks of WVEC 13 did a story on my annual event. Making Your Mark: Glamorous effort to help kids feel beautiful
Aside from enjoying my children and giving back to the community, the man in my life keeps a smile on my face. I thank God that He blessed me to find happiness again. Most people will leave this earth never knowing what true love felt like and God saw fit for me to experience that again on a totally different level. I’m so Blessed.
Q: Tell the viewers about your non-profit organization Purses With Purpose.
A: Purses With Purpose is very near and dear to my heart. We currently have 8 shelters in the Hampton Roads area that benefit from our efforts. I partner with local businesses to become drop off locations so the community can donate new or gently used purses. We fill those purses with “feel good” items like nail polish, perfume, body wash, mirrors, etc. We have local girl groups such as Delta Gems, and Girl Scouts hold events to stuff the purses and write notes to include in the purses as well. It is a really big deal in the community. We have an event featuring live music, entertainment and food for the recipients and present them with the purses.
We have now expanded outside of Virginia to include Philadelphia and Delaware.
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Q: How can we tune into your radio talk show “TALK IS CHEAP”?
A: My brand is Fat Girl 2 Glam Girl. Of course the Glam represents Giving Life and Motivation. My friend, Delores Polite, who I’ve known for many years came up with the idea for a radio show called “Talk Is Cheap”. You can hear us live through WKQA Freedom 1110 Radio. I finally agreed to co-host with her. I have a segment called Fat Girl 2 Glam Girl where I discuss all things about how to get your body from an unhealthy state to a healthy state. I talk about detoxification, weight loss, disease prevention, helping your kids lose weight and stay off of medication. I talk about everything that I’ve personally gone through I also talk about the challenges I’ve helped my daughter deal with and overcome battling high cholesterol, obesity and bullying. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle because I saw first hand how close I came to death by taking my health for granted. My mission is to help other Moms avoid the same pitfalls I had to endure due to lack of knowledge. I love the show because Dee and I have such a great chemistry that it doesn’t matter what topic we’re discussing, it’s an awesome dialogue. The show highlights current events, happenings in the community, social and political topics as well. There’s something for everyone. Please follow our page on Facebook called Talk Is Cheap Radio Show www.facebook.com/
TalkIsCheapRadioShow . For more information on the all natural health and wellness products I recommend to Moms and children, please visit, www.FatGirl2GlamGirl.com
Q: Tamika you are a positive force of energy in the community, what can we expect next?
A: My next move is a book that I solely wrote. It’s called “Worry Free Weight Loss On a Single Momma Budget” and I’m so excited because it lays out exactly how anyone, even a single Mom on a limited can budget can successfully lose weight. I am a widow raising children and I know first-hand how to stretch a dollar. I also have helped my teenage daughter lose 40lbs. I have personally lost even more. Most people have no idea where to start. This book will be a game changer for so many people and I pray it helps break the chain of obesity which leads to practically every other disease. Get the book directly from my website. My website also has many tips available for anyone who desires to be healthy and get fit www.TamikaQuinn.com
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