Posts Tagged “best”

Dec 9, 2012

The Real Housewives of Atlanta: ANGUILLA

Over 20 years ago, I visited a magical place whose friendly prideful people, seductive waters, buttery soft sand beaches & burnt orange sunsets pierced my heart. I discovered Anguilla after traveling the world as a flight attendant for years often canvassing destinations many would only dream of experiencing. As a young woman, I explored each region often relying upon the cultural vibes of each place to guide my discoveries, allowing me to learn the spirit & DNA of each destination through its strongest currency…..its people. When I landed on the shores of Anguilla, I instantly knew THIS island was special. It was as if God set aside a haven on earth from which he would some appoint himself a retreat. A place where everything he created “the best of” resided in one space, on one island and only those curious enough to venture would discover.

I had at this point in my life learned that anything easily attainable generally wasn’t worth having, so knowing that Anguilla was an exclusive haven requiring “by appointment travel” made it all the more unique and intriguing. I took the 10 minute scenic breezy ferry adventure over to the island from St. Marteen and my life has been empowered and enriched ever since I stepped foot on their pristine shores. Little did I know, when I subsequently plastered a postcard of Anguilla obtained during my trip on my vision board, along with every other desire of my heart that I would not only soon amass by grace and favor most of what was added to that board, but I would one day be representing the very island and its people that I happened upon over 2 decades ago. Life will give you what you ask of it!

Those who have discovered Anguilla desire to protect the island’s heritage, resources and integrity like a mother does her child. We covet & speak fondly of Anguilla, while wanting to preserve it as if it were virgin uncharted land. Anguilla, you see, only consists of thirteen thousand three hundred and sixteen (13,316) residents – smaller than neighborhoods in most major cities. Years ago, I was told the history of when the slave masters stumbled upon Anguilla and realized there was no cash crop. They wanted to take the slaves with them to neighboring islands where there was an abundance of resources, which could be easily exploited and sold. Anguilla was not lush enough to grow crops, so there were no resources for barter; therefore, no trade or money to be made. Many times, Anguillians were offered a choice to either stay on the island or leave for greener pastures. Most decided to stay and suck salt to survive & those who did split the island among families and to this day the island is still proudly 95% owned by local Anguillians. It is that symbolism that heroic portrait of courage and badge of honor that makes Anguilla special in ways other islands can never be. It is this reason that it became my home away from home and the reason why I have been passionately referring people from afar with an unwavering commitment and why now that I’m blessed to work alongside the distinguished government and its people, I have been relentless in my pursuit for the world to discover this best kept secret and hidden jewel of an island.

Becoming an over developed commercial destination, Anguilla will never be, but they are a region solely dependent on tourism dollars. Each Anguillian’s handprint has weaved the fabric of what Anguilla was and will become and I understand that the job of my agency is to mirror and magnify what has been built and shaped by the ancestors who toiled to preserve ownership of the land. The authenticity and original spirit of the infamous “Fountain Cave” that was used by the Amerindians before either Europeans or their human cargo still prevails. It is that same Fountain that is one of the most preserved and important pre-European sites in the Caribbean. Legend has it that it was the ‘Mecca or Holy land’ of the Arawaks and this spirit continues to permeate throughout each Anguiilan host and embodies each and every person who is from or becomes a resident. There is so much talent within their small population, spanning museum curators, chefs and restaurant owners, a sailing and boating community; including builders, a cycling community, a large talent pool of dynamic music artists, even Olympic athletes, groups and festivals, authors, actors, business owners and entrepreneurs to name a few. In my relentless pursuit of shining a light on all the obvious picturesque beauty and attributes that have intoxicated all who have visited, it is my hope that the burgeoning community and the next generation of undiscovered talents will blossom and be fully realized as well.

Anguilla is a region, like myself that believes in qualitative versus quantitative growth. Simply put, they desire a discerning traveler one that will appreciate the heritage, pride and integrity the island has maintained throughout its development and evolution. Some believe Anguilla is only for the rich…not true, it is; however, quite simply for those who seek the finest world class accommodations and services as the island offers hotels and villas that range from a few hundred dollars a night to several thousand. It has been touted for having the friendliest people of any Country. It is home to over thirty three (33) of the world’s best beaches rated by respected media outlets, such as; Conde Nast Traveler, the New York Times and many others. It boasts over one hundred (100) restaurants and is widely known and celebrated as the Cuisine Capital of the Caribbean. It has been said that if anything were to happen in Anguilla that half the world’s net worth would be lost as the island is inhabited by billionaires and millionaires, who are left in privacy and solitude to explore the wonders and treasures of the Island. What is profound is that the cab driver who may transport guests, while on island is likely a millionaire himself and owner of tracts of valuable land, in which one of the island’s major resorts or magnificent villas’ most likely occupies.

It is in that spirit that I worked tirelessly to bring the Housewives of Atlanta to Anguilla. As a Public Relations and Brand Strategist that has worked alongside some of the world’s most iconic brands, the Atlanta series of the housewives franchise has not only pioneered and paved the way for a genre of similar shows to be birthed, all looking to build and find their own carbon copy of Nene and the supporting cast, but it is one that promotes aspiration at the highest level amongst an urban backdrop, one that is a globally adopted and often exploited culture. The symbolism of bringing the housewives to Anguilla for me reflected cast mate Cynthia Bailey’s love of the Island having visited many times and the vision and handprint of her husband Peter Thomas, whose crafty impact can be found on the blueprint of South Beach, Miami being one of a few key individuals that engineered the early growth, economic development and tourism dominance the city enjoys to date. Similarly, I am hopeful Anguilla will soon prosper by virtue of this heightened platform and exposure and the others that will surely follow. Peter was an integral part of the movement that transformed South Beach from the old and retired to the young and desired (To learn more about Peter’s impact please read here: ). Therefore, I wanted him to experience the fertile and inspiring Island of Anguilla and offer his insights as a change agent spreading Anguilla’s attributes among his influential community.

So, as the excitement builds with tonight’s airing of the Real Housewives of Atlanta viewers will experience Anguilla and journey to paradise, tranquility wrapped in blue. Anguilla as become a memory vessel to many and holds an endearing place in the hearts of all who visit. It is my desire that the amazing spirited people of Anguilla will benefit exponentially from the natural resources they have worked hard to nurture and protect, yet openly share with the world!

Now, the world will get to see what I cherish, covet and love about Anguilla!