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Conversations with Diamond Paradise

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diamond Paradise.

Hi Diamond, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My story starts very young from the time I can remember. I was humming a tune and tapping my feet to be only two years old. I started modeling in baby pageants and ventured into dance at age three. I joined the church choir and competitive cheerleading at five and was still continuing my dance journey at the Nashville ballet at this time I would be 1 of 3 black girls who would attend the school in the lower levels and this continued to be the case into my teen years. By the time I reached middle school, my life was surrounded by the arts as I successfully auditioned to IT Creswell Arts middle school the first arts middle school in our city where I’d be introduced to acting. I would throw myself into my creativity and entrepreneurship as I seen myself as a bit socially awkward not fully being accepted by the other girls at school because I was more into sports and video games than boys or the latest fashions. Once I hit puberty, I would begin to be bullied since I didn’t really develop much figure comparatively beyond acne which would in turn become my love for makeup and design and one of the many reasons I start a YouTube in my later years. I loved the arts so much and wanted to be a well-rounded artist so I successfully auditioned to continue my education at Nashville school of the arts once I reached high school and even attended Middle Tennessee State University for dance at only 16 years old.

At 17, I left home trying to take some of the weight off my mother single-handedly raising me all while helping push me to reach my goals the expenses had become too great and I was unable to receive better loans for school even though I graduated at the top 10 percent of my class with honors and distinctions as well as had never missed a day all 12 years of schooling. I had been performing weekly for most all my life whether it was with my church choir, on many stages like the TPAC with the Nashville ballet, competing at the cheer competitions or the many shows we had at my middle and high school. Once I left home, I went straight into the business world becoming one of the youngest managers to work in the Grand Ole Opry Resort hotel at 19 years old and having my own crochet designs sold in multiple boutiques around the city. Though my time was taken up by such a position, I continued to take dance courses with the Nashville ballet to keep my art dreams alive. Due to the ridicule I experienced in my younger years, I had given up on modeling until I was accepted by Cool Girls Create; a Black woman entrepreneur-led creative collective who created a safe space for women to express themselves through arts and fashion. After a few months of preparation, I drove myself moving alone to my dream city Los Angeles at age 21. I had only been in the city for two days and barely had a place to stay or knew where I was being I came from a much smaller city and only visited the city twice before I appeared in my first music video and went on to do a stage show and another epic music video where I got to work with a live panther!

Most of that year, I spent my time in Orange County providing free service to the homeless and disabled community of OC and LA county as a part of the lifeline program and a community clean up activist. The next year I was performing a Black History stage show weekly with The Black Excellence project and honing in my hip-hop and krump styles with the Throne Dance Crew. When the pandemic hit, I lost my footing a bit feeling that everything I worked for the last few years seemed to die down and becoming isolated as most of the people I had grown close to in the city had to move away as the industry collapsed a bit it would seem that I had returned to square one but I still pushed to make the most positive of the situation taking to my Instagram and Twitch channel to bring peace through meditation and fitness as well as some light-hearted fun through streaming some video games to those whom I could reach in my community. Currently, I’m 25 and an independent artist looking to branch out in my own creative projects and have also reopened my crochet business currently known as AMbPlify a business I started at 13 where I make fun fashion and novelties by hand.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I try to look at “struggles” as a time to push how creatively I can get my works done even if things aren’t going the way I would like to see them but being in a big city has found its ways to put me at disadvantage; being robbed of some of film equipment at one point while having no way to replace those items and working with people who may have not been the most trustworthy or genuine at the time. The finances of running my projects alone with only the backing of me working my 9-5 or the gigs/commission with the living wage being pretty high and pay wages being minimum it can be very stressful too. Just finding time to rest or sometimes picking whether I will eat or have gas just to get to my next job all while working around the clock to make ends meet and create the beautiful content I want to share with the world can be a bit daunting but I always find a way.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
What I’m most known for is dance. I’ve been trained in most every style of dance Modern being my most prominent Ballet/Pointe being my favorite style to train in but I have the skill to do Tap, Jazz, Character and Contortion with Hip-Hop and Krumping being the most recent add to my repertoire. I feel what sets me apart from others is my love of nature. I try to use my projects as a way of showing the world to others and pushing activism towards sustainable living because so many people where I’m from haven’t had the opportunity to even travel out of my hometown and I want to create an accessible way for them to share in the beauty of the world while also promoting change in the community.

Currently, I’m most proud of relaunching AMbPlify my crochet business despite the hardships of the current state of the world. One of my first pieces I created was a novelty bunny named Benny who I created as my world travel buddy to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation and now in his relaunch a portion of his sales are donated to help a wildlife organization yearly.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
I’ve learned that cultivating and curating a safe space in my home where I can rejuvenate and recharge to support my mental, physical, spiritual health and overall well-being is extremely important.

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