Today we’d like to introduce you to Renae Plant.
Renae Plant was born on March 13, 1971, in Eumundi, a small, rural town in Queensland, Australia. Her mum, proclaimed, “There’s no way I’m going to lie on my back and push against gravity for hours–that doesn’t make any bloody sense to me.” Her mum gave birth to Renae on all fours in a mere 20 minutes (yes, you can hate her.)
Eighteen months later, Renae’s brother was born their sister followed 10 years after that.” Their father often rescued sick or injured wildlife and nursed them back to health at home. Occasionally, in an attempt to educate his offspring, he’d hold up an extremely venomous snake saying, “Kids, if you ever see this snake, don’t go near it. It’ll kill ya!”
Helping to care for her siblings and all of the other wild creatures in her home, Renae discovered her maternal instincts. Though she treasured her time cuddling koalas, caring for kangaroos and playing with possums, she always knew she wanted to go out into the world and explore.
Before she could do so, Renae was diagnosed with cervical cancer and at the age of 18, underwent laser surgery to remove the cancerous cells. Undaunted by this life-threatening challenge, Renae worked hard to follow her passion for creative expression.
In 1994, Renae moved to New York City with $600 and a suitcase to pursue a modeling and acting career, but found that living on a diet of carrots and coffee just wasn’t cutting it. It was during this time she developed her own sense of style and nurtured her knack of turning junk into artistic creations. In the urban jungle, Renae often rescued discarded items left out on the city sidewalks, recycled and transformed them into treasures. She turned an old TV set into a fish tank, bird cages into lamps, doors into tables and windows into mirrors. Her one-of-a-kind, handmade pillows were sold at the prestigious ABC Carpet and Home, the largest single retailer of floor coverings and home furnishings in the world.
In 2000, Renae planted herself in Los Angeles and in 2002 with the help of her best friend opened her own talent management company, Nebula Management: “the birthplace of hot new stars”. Working with both new and experienced talent, Renae used her years of first-hand experience to help her clients navigate the difficult path to showbiz success.
With her biological clock ticking and Mr. Right nowhere in sight, Renae decided to donate her eggs to help infertile couples. During one of the egg retrievals, a doctor commented on her cancer surgery, “Your uterus looks like it has been run over by a truck. You’ll be lucky to have kids of your own!” The doctor’s prognosis was insignificant compared to how she felt when reading a card sent from the couple after their twins were born. The father wrote: “I never thought I’d see the day when my wife would become a mother, and thanks to you I have.”
After a few false starts, Renae finally met the man of her dreams Livinio in Amsterdam. In 2003 he moved from his native Spain to be with her and when he did, sparks flew. After their wedding in Cuba, the couple quickly proved the egg-retrieval doctor wrong when they returned home pregnant.
Renae was incredibly excited about her [bump], but like most moms-to-be, she was concerned that most people just thought she was letting herself go. She wanted to scream, “I’m not fat–[bump] on board!”
Disappointed to find that nothing catered to the first four to five months of pregnancy before the [bump] finally “pops,” Renae decided to create and wear her own maternity designs on her growing belly that reflected her sense of style and humor. That’s when [bump] was born!
Renae’s [bump] designs quickly garnered such an amazing response from friends and strangers alike that she realized she was onto something good. Pregnant again within a year of her first child’s birth, Renae refined and expanded her [bump] line and for the next several months, the world at large became her focus group.
Since then she has had her [bump] tees worn by celebrities like Jenna Elfman, Matt Damon’s wife Luciana Barroso, John Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston, Gillian Anderson, Brooke Burke, Jennifer Meyer, Sarah Wayne Callie, Nancy O’Dell, Jaime Lynne Spears, Jason Priestly & Ali Landry.
While busy running [bump] and seven months pregnant with her third child, her daughters’ preschool Camelot Kids was suddenly shut down overnight leaving over 60 families without child care. This is when Renae found her true calling in life. Renae went into what she recalls as “mama bear mode” and rescued Camelot from permanent closure on February 14, 2008, along with her husband Livinio, and a handful of parents who believed that Camelot Kids should remain a community preschool.
Over the years Camelot Kids has flourished under her leadership. In 2014 the school won the “Best For Your Kids” designation from the Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce and in 2016 Camelot Kids was honored by Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Award as best Preschool in Los Angeles. On March 16, 2015 Renae was awarded 28th Congressional District Woman of the Year by Congressman Adam Schiff for her fundraising efforts and community service that helped transform Thomas Starr King Middle School with an entire beautification makeover.
After a year of construction Renae & Livinio just added Little Knights Parent + Me Center to Camelot’s campus, allowing parents to attend classes with their children from as early as 3 months. As an extension of Camelot Kids, Little Knight’s creates a space for families to gather in community. A place where parents can come together, gain new skills, new friendships and be supported as they tend to their little ones. Little Knights is an all-inclusive Parent + Me Center Just West of the Eastside.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Juggling the balance of being a working mother and wife has been my biggest challenge. Saving Camelot Kids from closure with two kids under the age of 3 while seven months pregnant was crazy. I didn’t sleep. Looking back I don’t know how I did it.
Over the years there have been some growing pains but I quickly learned that I have to make difficult discussions in order to protect the positive culture of the entire community we serve. Working with parents and their children daily is a very emotional experience and it can drain your energy if you let it. What I’ve learned in life is that when you do something for others and expect absolutely nothing in return the universe gives you the biggest rewards.
Camelot Kids / Little Knights – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Camelot Kids is a Preschool and Kinder program for children aged 2-5 years and Little Knights is a Parent +Me Center just “West of the Eastside” in Silverlake. I am most proud of saving Camelot Kids from closure and over the past nine years growing it from below ground zero to provide top quality care for over 150 families daily, create jobs for over 25 incredible teachers/admin and being considered as one of the top preschools in Los Angeles.
What sets us apart from other preschools is that we build an amazing community. I believe that what makes people truly happy is a sense of belonging so it’s our top priority. With our Little Knights program we have created an incredible one stop parent recourse center where we provide “Parent & Me” groups, Fitness Classes where you can work out with your baby, parent workshops, birthing classes, Parents Day Out, Disco Knights and our [bump] boutique all at the same location.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
For me success comes with challenging myself daily. When I get a “NO” I always look to find ways to get a creative “YES”. I like to keep busy and do things that change the community in which we live. Success for me is when I can balance working and enjoying the fruits of my labor with my family. Time is all we have and to enjoy it defines success for me.
- Address: 2880 Rowena Ave
Los Angeles CA 90039
- Website: www.camelotkids.org
- Phone: 323 662 2663
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: camelotkidsla, littleknightsla,
- Facebook: Camelot Kids LA, Little Knights LA
- Twitter: littleknightsla, camelotkids
- Yelp: Camelot Kids
Andrew Southam, Michelle Day, email@example.com,