The different sides of Michelle Thomas
Everybody has a story to tell. For some it’s a tale of triumph, survival, or defeat. But for attorney-at-law Michelle Thomas, it’s one of courage and sheer enthusiasm. Recently, Flair journeyed to the 28-year-old’s office, eagerly wanting to learn of her history. And Thomas, a polished woman, with sharply defined facial features, came alive with each word as she related the different sides of her narrative.
“I don’t believe that because you are young, you should be limited. I try to challenge myself. I’m very God-fearing and I attribute most of my successes to Him. Also, I believe that I am blessed and was called to do remarkable things on Earth. So, I am not wasting any time,” an emotional Thomas told Flair.
Some may know her as a Commonwealth Youth Council member, serving as the special project chairperson. Others may identify her as the vice-chairperson for policy and advocacy on the Regional Youth Council, as well as a member of Jamaica’s first youth adviser to the Government.
So, it’s clear that she is a multifaceted individual. But what you might find surprising is, Thomas has an entrepreneurial spirit. This has brought her to open a hair salon and starting and managing a thriving pig farm in St Thomas, where her parents are from.
“We all know St Thomas has been underdeveloped and that’s why I decided to start my entrepreneurial efforts there. That’s how I went into farming, partnering with my brother-in-law. Then I started my salon in Yallahs Square because my sister is a hairstylist, I grew up in a home that taught that a woman must look good. My hair and make-up had to be intact,” she said.
Her salon is called Micheebooux Hair and Barber Shop.
THE VILLAGE LAWYER
Frank, stern, but lovable; that’s how Thomas describes herself. She surmises that these qualities are like magnets that attract people’s attention.
Thomas, who’s also her biggest competitor, believes that her role model is the best version of herself. Still her aim is to serve her community. Practising for four years now, the modish quick-witted legal representative opened the doors to her law firm, Michelle Thomas and Associates Attorneys-at-Law, a few years ago. It’s anchored at the Boulevard Shopping Centre in St Andrew. There she works with paralegal consultants and a junior intern. The firm is strategically located across from her home community, Cooreville Gardens.
“I’m the closest lawyer to my community and the neighbouring areas. More than anything, I want to represent my community on the governmental platform. That’s why I choose to start here and not downtown, as they say you have to dance a yard before you dance abroad,” she declared.
From as early as 10 years old, when she accompanied her mother to court, Thomas decided to pursue a career in law. It was a delightful and impressive moment that left her dumbfounded by the cleverness, attire, and overall demeanour of the lawyers who battled each other in the courthouse. It also soothed the desire she had to be a part of the arts and unleash her skills on stage.
“My love for the arts is what makes me so good at my law. Every case is like theatre for me.”
Now, she is living her dream. However, it has not always been this happy. For instance, when she was unemployed for a year. Watching her colleagues excel, while she was “home getting fat”, was a moment filled with disappointments, pain and tears. Still, Thomas warns those who are facing a similar challenge to stay focused and never give up.
“Trust and believe that everything happens for a reason. What you feel is best for you may not be what God wants for you. So don’t be disappointed when things do not work out. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
“I’m always on a weight loss diet and I just can’t get it right. So, I’ll start out good for the first part of the month and by the end of the month, it’s haywire. I’m emotional, too. Many persons don’t see this side,” she said.
She continued: “People, and especially my mother, would find it surprising that I do ministerial work. My mother doesn’t understand my Christianity because I am a party-goer. But I believe that God and I have a special relationship and it’s not something that I will put on public display. But I get visions and I even prophecy. I always tell people that the messenger has to have a message. I can’t relate to someone if I have never experienced that type of lifestyle.”