The first thing that struck me about Roushelle Green was her passion, focus and confidence. This former beauty queen-turned entrepreneur, is the founder and creative genius behind two successful brands; online retailer Ri and The Reign Legacy a creative consultancy group. An avid lover of fashion, arts and Caribbean culture, Green continues to make a positive impact on her adopted Canadian community through collaborations in the fashion, pageant and charity worlds. Everything about Roushelle embodies beauty queen. She is poised, graceful, confident and intelligent, with a strong love for her native Jamaica. Roushelle Green is this month’s inspiring Island Muse Spotlight.
If you had to describe yourself in three words what would they be?
Chameleon, queen and innovative.
Tell me about yourself and the journey that led to the creation of online retailer “Ri” and Miss Legacy International.
I was born and raised in the parishes of Kingston and St Andrews, Jamaica and I’m in every way a vibrant Jamaican. While attending Vaz Preparatory and St. Andrew’s High School for Girls my life was engulfed by the arts. I absolutely love to dance! In Jamaica I was a member of Cathy Levy’s Little People & the Teen Players Club. I also attended Edna Manley School of Dance for a year before moving to Toronto. Everything I’ve learnt throughout my dance life, I now share with my students at the Roots and Branches Dance Program. Aside from dance, I also have a love for fashion. I love to study design, fashion shows, brands, you name it I’m on it. Surprisingly, you’ll rarely catch me wearing name brand attire. I rather a well put together $5 outfit. I’m a multifaceted person of creativity and my imagination runs wild on business and branding, which birthed the concept of The Reign Legacy, my creative consultancy and holding company for my other companies.
I’ve always been intrigued by the depth of African and Caribbean fashion. It bothered me that there was no representation of us in mainstream retail and I wanted to be the one to create it. I did my research and from there Rí formerly known as Legacy & Co was born. The upcoming re-launch is approaching this Spring 2016. Ri is a collective of independent African and Caribbean designers. I curate all the merchandise, making sure it suits the overall identity of the brand. Rí means King, Queen & Monarch. Everything I create relates to having a legacy.
Another passion of mines is pageantry. I can spot the winner from the first preliminary round or headshot. After winning the Miss Canada Petite title in 2012, I started training young ladies who had similar passions for the pageantry world. So far I have one crown and three top fifteens from my trainees. After my experience as a reigning queen and a judge, I saw the cracks in the industry and felt I could change things. People think I’m crazy as pageantry is an expensive hobby but I don’t care for the money. I see the fire I spark in these young women to pursue their dreams and empower others. That’s what Miss Legacy International is all about. Our mission is to empower the youth of today and preserve the culture. What is beauty without brilliance, philosophy and compassion? Truthfully, during the quest to my crown they told me a little black girl like me would never win. Over the years I realized that whenever I followed others and listened to their opinions, I got no results. But whenever I followed my instinct, I always delivered a silent bomb. Producing the Miss Legacy International Pageant has been a true learning experience. To some we are seen as just another pageant and to others we are a breath of fresh air. From January 27-31st our periscope will be on constant streaming live from Jamaica, you shall miss nothing!
What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced on your journey thus far?
I’d have to say fear of failure. Sometimes I tend to stand in my own way by over analyzing situations. This journey has taught me that business is as unpredictable as my personality and I must accept that. Another obstacle I face is securing financing for the multiple projects I’m working on. However, I’ve realized that as long as I work smart and continue to build my empire, I’m content no matter how long it takes.
How has your heritage as a Jamaican woman impacted your success and outlook on life?
My heritage humbles me. Yes as Jamaicans we are bold and boasy, but a huge part of our identity is the importance of humility, manners and respect. Those values always come first. My humility reminds me that even though I’ve achieved so much, I still have a lot more work to do. And of course my sassiness, spice, and aggression all stem from a Jamaican culture of which I am very proud of.
One Caribbean woman that inspires you;
I have more than one. But first and foremost, I’d have to say my mother, on both a personal and professional level. Throughout my life I’ve seen her at her weakest and her strongest points and she’s always taught me the importance of determination and persistence. She also inspired my entrepreneurial spirit. As a Jamaican woman I also admire women like the Hon. Lisa Hanna and former Miss Jamaica World Cathy Levy. They are both beauty queens that embody grace, intelligence and class.
Favourite Jamaican saying;
She likkle but shi tallawah. Jamaica is a tiny island but we have so much essence and personality, that sometimes it seems like we’re a continent (laughs). Also when people see me, they see a small petite woman at first, but they quickly come to learn that I have an authoritative voice. Finally, I will never forget when I competed for the Miss Canada Petite pageant, even though it was just the two of them, you could hear my mom and dad throughout the entire show.
Favourite place to visit when in Jamaica;
Well I love to eat so I’d have to say Faith’s Pen. Simply put Faith’s Pen is food heaven. You’ll find it when you’re heading to the north side of the island. There you’ll find a variety of different food stalls where you can indulge in Jamaica’s best local cuisine. The best way to describe Faith’s Pen is; it’s an experience! St Thomas is another favorite of mine as we have a lot of family there. It’s also a great place to recharge and relax.
Finally, if you had one piece of advice to share with Caribbean women on career, relationships, success etc. what would it be?
I’d have to say that it’s always better to work together than against each other. Sometimes as Caribbean people we tend to have a crab in the bucket mentality. We need to recognize the power that comes from our unity. I’d also say know your worth in every area of life. Nothing is more important than working hard to earn your success. Know that if your mind can conceive it you can achieve it.