Subscribe to TheZenFashionista to receive blog posts directly to your email!

Subscribe to TheZenFashionista to receive blog posts directly to your email!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Meeting Paula Abdul

This past week I got to meet one of my role models, Paula Abdul. I've been a fan of Paula's for thirteen years. One of the reasons I'm so inspired by her is because we share the same neurological condition, RSD. There were moments where I was literally crawling on the floor in tears because I could not stand on my left foot. Moments like those are when I would look to Paula for strength and inspiration. She's such a positive person who always shows gratitude and makes her dreams a reality.


On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, Paula spoke at The Lois Linden Nelson Woman's World event. Paula was the featured guest and they honored holocaust survivor, Henrietta Weisberg. 

One of the main topics of Paula's talk was on adversity. She told us how she got her start as a Laker girl, overcame an eating disorder, about the plane crash she was in, and stories about her family...such as her sister being diagnosed with cancer and her dad having Alzheimer's. It was a very emotional hour! I was moved by all that she had to say. 

Some key points from Paula's talk:


She was born premature. Almost twelve weeks early. She weighed under three pounds and had breathing problems. Every time she would cry, she would faint. Her older sister would find ways to make her laugh instead. 

As a cheerleader at age 17, Paula suffered an injury. From then on she suffered from chronic pain. Years later, at the height of her music career, she was in a plane crash. She was told she crushed her entire cervical spine and went on to have 15 surgeries and her entire cervical spine fused. Much later she was diagnosed with RSD; Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Through one of her surgeries, her vocal chords were damaged. She didn't have a speaking voice and had to go through various speech pathology treatments for two years. She was scared that people would look at her as "damaged goods" and so she kept it all a secret. According to Paula what that did, was isolate her. Paula says there came a point where she realized this was not just going to go away, but she prayed that their was a better outcome. Growing up her parents instilled an attitude of gratitude in her and she found that her mindset was very important in her chronic pain journey. 

When Paula was very young, at age seven, her parents divorced. When she was eight, she began taking dance lessons.  Her dance teacher made a comment about her legs being stubby (she also said Paula was better than the rest of the kids, but all Paula heard was that her body was terrible) and it started her on a path of negative thoughts about her body/ self image. When she was in high school, she developed a full blown eating disorder. There were times where she had a reprise, but then it would creep up on her again. In 1994, Paula took it upon herself to get the help she needed. Three tools she took away from her stay at the clinic were to accept the size and shape she was born with, not to skip meals and to exercise for a maximum of an hour a day. 




Now, for the story of how Paula got her big break. Paula went to audition to be a dancer for the Los Angeles Laker's basketball team. You had to be 18, so Paula lied about her age. She remembered the mantra that she was taught growing up, "No is just the beginning of a negotiation." She was cut after just thirty seconds, but decided to re-register under a different name. Again....she was cut.  The second time getting the chance to dance. Third time's a charm, because she re entered after changing her clothes and rearranging her hair and made the team. Paula said that if anyone tells you no, it should be the beginning of your pursuit, not the end. 
Within three months of being on the team, she was selected as head choreographer. She ended up leaving college to pursue her dance career. That decision would soon pay off because during one of the basketball games, her choreographing skills caught the attention of the Jackson 5. She was then hired as the assistant dance director for their tour. Afterwards, she started choreographing for many stars and worked on the Tracey Ullman show. She even was awarded an Emmy for the dance work that she did. She used her savings to create a demo which in turn earned her a recording contract. In 1988, her first album titled, Forever Your Girl was released. Four out of the ten tracks became number one hits. The success continued and she went on to win a Grammy award for her Opposites Attract music video. 



Paula also talked about her Jewish identity and her first visit to Israel. She described a moment at the Western Wall in Jerusalem where two doves flew overhead as she put her note into the wall. While she was in Israel, she had a Bat Mitzvah. The trip in her own words was, "magical and emotional."


Paula works with We Day, a youth empowerment event organized by Free the Children and is a supporter of many animal rescue organizations, NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) and charities pertaining to Alzheimer's and cancer.    

Paula teamed up with Avon and created a video to raise awareness for cancer prevention. Her older sister Wendy is a breast cancer survivor. Currently, her dad is suffering from Alzheimer's. She recently attended "Part the Cloud Gala"which was hosted by the Alzheimer's Association. 

Avon Foundation "Check Yourself" Video


After Paula's talk, I had the opportunity to meet her. Let me just say, this was not easy. It took lots of phone calls, emails, prayers, etc. But in the end, it happened! A lot of people expected me to be nervous when meeting her, but I felt like I was talking with a dear friend. Paula has this calming energy and makes you feel that she truly values the time she spends with you. She hugged me and kissed my cheek numerous times and you could just feel the warmth and love radiating from her. She was a genuinely sweet woman and I am so fortunate that I got to spend a little time with her. 




Paula hugs are seriously so lovely!


She told me that she was proud of me for my work with mentoring people afflicted with RSD and for raising awareness. 


Paula recognized that I was wearing a necklace from her HSN jewelry line. :)


Who are some of the people that inspire you? Let me know in the comments :)

As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment below or feel free to email me at TheZenFashionista@Gmail.Com :)

If you would like to subscribe to my blog, I would really appreciate it! You can comment your email below or give it to me personally. If for some reason, you are already subscribed and are not receiving an email in your inbox, check your spam folder.



Until next time,

XOXOTheZenFashionista

23 comments:

  1. This is awesome! So cool you got to meet her!

    xo
    https://alliesfashionalley.com/2016/05/comfiest-topshop-boyfriend-jeans/

    ReplyDelete
  2. WOAH, Paula is amazing! You're so lucky :-)

    <3: Jasmin N
    Little Things With Jassy
    Bloglovin'

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sooo happy for you sweetness. A dream come true for you πŸ’•
    KarebearπŸ’œ

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome....so many things I didn't know about her....and soooo proud of you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's really cool!! I have to say, I'm a lil jelly! 😜

    ReplyDelete
  6. Awesome blog post! You deserved this! I'm so happy for you <3

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awwww I love Paula! I'm so glad you had the opportunity to meet her! I learned a lot of things I didn't know about her in your post. Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow what a great post and such an amazing experience!! I love paula but had no idea she had been through so much! xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. What an inspiring story. I never knew she went through so much. Xx

    Anne | http://decanne.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. That's great that you got to meet your idol! I never knew most of those things about her. That's a great story about her trying out for the Lakers three times. But it sounds like you're just as persistent as she is!

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is really cool!! Meetings your hero. I did not know any of this about Paula's life. It is really fascinating. Good luck to you!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow!! That's awesome. Great story, I'm so happy for you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I had no idea that was her story!
    I am so happy you got to meet her so nicely!

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a great day you had! Great post

    ReplyDelete
  15. So pleased for you that you got to meet one of your idols! It's only when you actually meet a celebrity in real life that you remember they are real people too with stresses and difficulties.

    Rosie | www.rosieromance.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow this is amazing - definitely an unforgettable moment :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sounds like a greta moment, congratulations

    ReplyDelete
  18. I continue to amazed with your choice of topics and your writing ability. So happy you got the opportunity to meet a role model. Continue with the great job of informing and entertaining all of us, your loyal readers.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I continue to amazed with your choice of topics and your writing ability. So happy you got the opportunity to meet a role model. Continue with the great job of informing and entertaining all of us, your loyal readers.

    ReplyDelete
  20. She is so inspirational! A true role model

    ReplyDelete
  21. It always feel amazing to meet someone we look up to specially when that person share something so special with us and we can relate to them ! You're so lucky

    ReplyDelete
  22. great moment, you are lucky to meet your inspiration,go on.

    ReplyDelete