I've spent the last 10+ years using media to empower women.
Currently I offer one-on-one and group coaching in person, on the phone and via Skype in addition to being a love, dating and relationship columnist for publications like Essence Magazine and for TV talk shows like the CW’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” My website The Passionista Playbook (transitioning into LoveUniversity.us) serves as a fun teaching blog and the hub of a series of upcoming programs focused on personal power for women. I also speak to schools and organizations.
My philosophy is that everything comes back to self-love. Every choice we make is a decision catalyzed by love or fear. I have faced challenges from heartbreaking grief to disordered eating and won. In addition to being a life and self-love coach I offer relationship interventions and midwifing your life.
I draw on my personal experience in addition to my unique Passionate Living Coach process based on recharging feminine energy with a healing mix of the law of attraction, cognitive behavioral work, spiritual counseling, neuro-linguistic programming and life-changing modalities such as meditation, emotional freedom technique and affirmations.
I am a fourth generation empowerment specialist. My mother was a teacher and my father is a preacher in addition to being an esteemed journalist. My maternal grandfather was a village elder in Buxton, Guyana and my great-grandmother owned “The White House,” a sort of de facto bed and breakfast where anyone could drop in for a warm meal and a place to stay off of the railroad line in Campbellville, Guyana.
In my early 30s I was a happy newlywed who had been in her dream relationship for 10 years. Then the bottom fell out. As that relationship completed itself I was suddenly single and devastated. Moreover, I realized that I had never been single in my adult life.
As the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, I was the first person in my family born in America. My identity issues growing up were compounded by the obvious challenges in my parents’ marriage and being a highly sensitive person. Often the people who raise us can’t teach us about love and self worth as they may have obstacles to overcome in these areas as well.
I have always been a teacher and a coach, I just didn’t know it. It many ways, being a helping professional chose me.
Since the late 90s I’ve held Goddess Support Groups in my living room, thrown rites of passage parties for women and given empowerment speeches and workshops at schools and institutions. I used the media, with my career as a TV personality, media producer and author, as a teaching vehicle. My art films showed in festivals worldwide allowing me to discuss issues such as women and mental illness, abuse, and healthy sexuality.
About 7 years ago I created my first empowerment advice podcast on iTunes called “The Goddess Factory.” That audio show spun off into a series of popular web TV shows. While hosting a TV show for BET, my first advice column, “Dear Abiola,” debuted in the national urban newspaper, Rolling Out. Simon and Schuster also published my debut novel, Dare, which spoke largely about empowering oneself as a single woman.
Friends and strangers started to reach out to me informally to ask me to mentor or coach them through life challenges. As I was always discussing relationship issues on the air, VH1 invited me to join the cast of the first season of “Tough Love” when I was laid off from BET. Although I had hosted shows for HBO and NBC, I had never done reality television. I looked at the show as an opportunity to share some of the empowerment theories for women that I had been writing about: “marrying” yourself first, creating a “Goddess Dream Book” vision board and being “picky” in a healthy way.
The Next Stage
After that it was my privilege to be a Teen Dating Empowerment Coach on the MTV series “Made.” I also became a relationship columnist, love consultant and go-to self esteem coach for several different publications. Although I studied women’s empowerment both in grad school and in my MFA program, I decided to become a certified master coach to allow me to properly fulfill my life’s purpose.
Our parents had “Dear Abby” and we have “Dear Abiola.” This is the work I was born to do. It all comes back to Love: Romantic Love, Self-Love, Body Love, Divine Love, Universal Love and even Material Love. Because how we do anything is how we do everything, I coach on love, dating, relationships and breakup recovery in addition to self esteem and self worth, creativity, manifesting, weight release and body acceptance.
Life is a passionate experience; not a passive one.