“You’re the author of your life’s story; you can start a new chapter.” — Lesa Milan-Hall, cast member
Lesa, her adorable boys and easy-on-the-eyes British financier hubby Richard Hall are no strangers to her scores of Jamaican fans both on and off The Rock who have long marvelled at her stunning looks, fab lifestyle in Dubai and her business acumen. She’s the woman behind the luxury line Mina Roe. Naturally her followers quadrupled after the first episode at the reality show that aired June 1, on Bravo and too, following last Wednesday’s Thanksgiving episode where local culinary delights curry goat and mannish water were spotlighted .
SO’s patience paid off big time when we were granted access!
“First things first,” shared Milan-Hall. “I am 33 years old and won Miss Jamaica International 2010 (NOT Miss Universe).” She’d come across a few local articles with wrong information about her. With that out of the way we asked Milan-Hall to harken back to her formative years in Kingston, Jamaica.
“There were quite a few standout moments,” she shares, before adding, “From my prep school days at Stella Maris, to high school at Immaculate Conception, all the friends and teachers that made my experiences as a child so memorable. I grew up between Kingston and Portmore with the most amazing family — our ‘Hellshire Sunday’ rituals were my favourite, and playing Dandy Shandy, and ring games outside with the neighbours are moments I will never forget.”
Like many Jamaicans, she would eventually leave the country of her birth to study overseas, focusing on broadcast journalism and fashion which she has successfully parlayed into her day-to-day existence. “I’m the founder and chief designer of luxury women’s brand Mina Roe and the author of my personal blog on LesaMilan.com. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to apply the skills I learned in university to my life today,” she says. Her family, however, triggered her entrepreneurial side. “I’ve always been a self-driven, independent individual; as a young girl I always knew I would thrive as an entrepreneur. My father is an entrepreneur, and I’ve admired how much of a difference he made by creating job opportunities for others while doing what he loved.”
It’s fair to conclude that he emboldened her. There was no dipping her toes in the shallow end of the pool. “I definitely dived in! I’m an all-or-nothing type of girl — I don’t do anything halfway!”
It’s no idle boast! Our Rock fabella who could easily have spent her days over leisurely lunches, as opposed to crunching numbers, is quick to share a few business tips that in her opinion are crucial for every female entrepreneur.
“Always be 10 steps ahead of your competitors, research the market and as you grow, make sure you have at least the basic knowledge of all jobs required in your business (search engine optimisation) marketing, accounting, etc) so no one can take advantage of you. It is also so important to keep costs low in the early stages of a new business venture and don’t plan on taking a salary for the first couple of years!”
There’s more life advice to a career-focused 30-something-year-old who wants to start a family but is apprehensive about pressing the pause button on her career: “Use fear as a driving force, not as a barrier. It’s possible to be a great wife/mum and still be successful in your career — if you can dream it, you can achieve it.”
Milan-Hall has never shied away from championing women. “As a wife, mum and businesswoman, I can relate to so many women and I know the challenges we face on a daily basis from my personal experiences. Too often we’re overlooked by our male counterparts or put down by other women, so I think it’s my duty to empower women every chance I get,” she shares.
SO sees a Lesa Milan masterclass in the not-too-distant future.
Luisa Zissman, a famous TV personality in the United Kingdom, was the first celebrity to wear the sustainable Mina Roe line.
Prior to the airing of The Real Housewives of Dubai, Milan-Hall confessed to being very nervous but also excited... You know we Jamaicans “likkle but we tallawah”, so I’m proud that I was able to represent our people on such an amazing platform.
On her wardrobe details... I will be wearing a lot of pieces from Mina Roe’s S/S22 collection which will be available for sale in June.
Her thoughts on how the series will be received... I think it will be received very well. Dubai is such an amazing city to live in and my group of friends and I are a lot of fun (even without the cameras).
Was hers an immediate ‘Yes’ when approached... No! It wasn’t. I’ve done reality TV before, so I know all that comes with it (both good and bad), also my family and I have always lived a happy, private life so it was a big decision to put our lives on display.
Was she friends with any of the cast members...Yes, I’ve been friends with most of the cast for many years.
On how her adorable sons have adapted to life in the spotlight... They have no clue what “spotlight” is and I intend to keep it that way for as long as possible. They think Mummy’s doing videos for YouTube!
Finally... A message to Rock fans... Big hello to all the housewives and househusbands, too! Please send me your messages on Instagram @Lesa.Milan and I’ll do my best to reply.
SO: Rom/com or suspense movie?
SO: Favourite reggae song/artiste?
SO: What’s the one Jamaican food that you miss?
LMH: Hellshire’s escoveitch lobster with festival.
SO: What’s your favourite mum/sons pastime?
LMH: Playing football (soccer).
SO: Last book read?
LMH: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
SO: Current colour obsession?
LMH: Lime green!