*An Interview with the Fabulous Lisa Barber*
In my journeys, I have met many interesting people from all walks of life.
This is an interview with one of those persons - one who not only dreamt a dream- but is making it come TRUE with nothing short of inspiration, willpower and determination.
This is Her Story……
Can you tell us a bit about yourself in your own words?
Can you tell us a bit about yourself in your own words?
Well what is there to say?
I’m a girl from a small town from Ohio and decided that living by other people’s rules was not my bag so I up and left. I lost a lot of friends doing that but it was the best thing that I have ever done.
This journey that I have been on has been a journey of self discovery and ultimately a journey that has resulted in loving myself.
Growing up was a bit difficult at times. My older sister is a very talented singer. She has a singing voice that is amazing. She went to university at Wright State and trained with some of the top vocal teachers in the country. One of her fellow classmates was the fabulous and gorgeous Nicole Scherzinger!
I was kind of pushed aside as a kid. My sister’s needs were kind of put before mine. I was kind of the afterthought. While people were oooo’ing and awww’ing over my sister I was in the wings so to speak. This led to some pretty shitty behaviour on my part.
I started to act out. I stole, cheated, my grades dropped, I stopped caring because I felt that I didn’t matter. I got the attention that I wanted but it obviously wasn’t the right sort of attention. I acted outrageously and dangerously. It lead to depression (I was diagnosed as being bi polar when I was 16.) and lead to bulimia when I was 18. I was an absolute wreck.
That’s why I decided to leave America. I wanted to get out of that situation. I was never Lisa. I was always Angela’s sister. I wanted to find out who I was.
So you decided that living by other people’s rules was not your bag so you up and left. That was a pretty drastic move on your part. How old were you when you made the move? Had you finished school?
I dropped out of Wright State University and left at the tender age of 21. I was doing an International Business course.
It seems your sister was a bit of a shining star? Did you think that maybe trying to outshine her at something YOU were good at would have been a better plan that acting out?
I didn’t know what I was good at. Everything that my sister did, my Mama made me do. She put me through singing lessons, piano lessons, clarinet lessons, trumpet lessons. Everything. I cannot sing and I hated playing clarinet and trumpet. I loved playing the piano. My sister was a genius on it but I was kind of good. When I was 16 I started writing music. That seemed to fit but I kept it secret. It was very personal to me.
What played the biggest part in your decision to leave it all behind? Was it your sister, or was it the need to find your own shining path?
I needed to leave because I felt like everything I did upset my parents. I loved them very much and I could see my actions hurting them. I figured if I, the source of their misery, left, they would be happy. It has done wonders for our relationship. My Parents and I are very close now.
Where exactly did you up and go to? Did you have friends or family that helped with the transition?
I left and went to Italy first to be with my Nonno (Italian for grandpa). I loved him so much. I stayed there for 3 months and then moved onto the South of England and the crazy journey began.
How did you begin “Reinventing” yourself?
When I left home I was constantly trying different looks. I tried dying my hair blond and being tanned (biggest mistake ever!!), I tried a Goth look, black hair, pale and red lips which I loved. I tried all different types of fashion but only when I hit my 30’s I realised what style I loved the best. I started looking through the photographs that my Nonno gave me. I loved the way my Nonna and Mama dressed when they were younger. The hats and coordinating handbags and shoes and the structured dresses, I found my niche!!
I understand you are really big on style and fashion. Have you always been such a girly-girl or was that part of your transition when you relocated? And what’s your favourite style era?
I was a bit of a tomboy growing up. I wore shorts and t-shirts in the hot Ohio summers, jeans and sweaters when I was in the cold Ohio winters. I went through so many different looks but it was definitely when I started to feel comfortable as a woman recently I settled into my style. I was born in the wrong decade definitely! I’d say I am a 1950’s – 1970’s girl but I have recently chopped all my hair off a la Mia Farrow which I am loving. It’s liberating!!! I have always said that fashion is an expression about your feelings and thoughts. If you make the effort, put on a great outfit with fab shoes, do your hair and makeup, nothing can get you down. It’s armour to me.
So a little birdie whispered in my ear that you have a modelling Gig in Blackpool? Wanna spill the beans?
Yes! That is very true! I recently changed my hair from a graduated bob (which I have had for 3 years) to a pixie crop. He messed it up the first time....badly! But he has since rectified it and it is gorgeous!!! My hairdresser is the best color correctionist in the Northwest of England and he has won a lot of awards for his skills.
He asked me to take part in the Blackpool Hairdressing Competition as a hair model to showcase his skills. I was shocked! I mean, I am not your stereotypical model...in fact I would go as far to say that I am the anti-model!!! (A short size 16 woman with a pixie prop and loads of tattoos!!) So I am well excited for it!
The theme is black and red and so a friend of mine is doing my makeup and I will be wearing a black jumpsuit, a red waist cinching belt, red and black skull printed Iron Fist Peep toe stilettos and red accessories.
How many pairs of shoes do you own now?
I own about 153 pairs of shoes. I see shoes as a form of art. Some are elegant and sweet like a pair of 6 inch stiletto Mary-Janes (my current favourites) and some are just functional like your every day gym shoes. Shoes can make or break a whole outfit. I have seen many a girl on a night out wearing a gorgeous dress wearing the most hideous shoes that completely ruin the look. You can never go wrong with a simple black or tan patent leather peep toe. They are the little black dress of the shoe world!
How did you choose your career path? Has it changed much since you initially set out on your own?
The truth was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I stumbled into what I do now. I started out as being in the warehouse in the South of London, worked myself up to being in the office. One day, the supply chain manager said, hey you over there. We need you. And 2 years later I was promoted to Supply Chain Team Leader. I have gone onto being a buyer and working in Procurement. Do I like it? Mmmmmmmmmm.....kind of. I prefer doing stock.
What has been the biggest obstacle in your life so far?
Myself. I am my own worst enemy. I believe that we can get through anything. It’s just us that makes it hard for ourselves.
Who has made the biggest impact on your life/lifestyle?
My Mama. I didn’t get along with her growing up. But now I see the beauty in her. She’s an ex-model. Never left the house without a full face of makeup and dressed like a lady. The woman doesn’t own a pair of jeans!!!! She is my hero.
What do you do for fun? And what one thing would you LIKE to do at some point but just don’t have the courage to do quite yet?
For fun? I have started to learn to cook and have been going to the gym. Not that the gym is fun but I am kind of enjoying it. And as for the last bit, once I get to the size I want to, I want to do a tasteful nude photo-shoot as a reminder that I need to take care of my body.
Is there a special someone in your life? If so, how did you meet?
Ahhhhhh, yes, my better half Rik, or Ricardo as Mama calls him! We meet online. It was a whirlwind romance but we are together pretty much 24 hours a day. I work for him and go home and cook his supper. He’s different to my ex-boyfriends in that he has a lot of ambition. The status quo isn’t good enough and that’s the sort of man that I want to be around. Someone that is always going forward.
Do you think your career path will change in the future? What about your Personal Life? Any hopes or dreams you’d like to share with us? I don’t think you are one to shy away from change of any sort, are you?
I definitely want a change in career! I would love to write a weekly article for a newspaper or have a lifestyle slot on a TV program. I feel like I have a lot to give. Change doesn’t bother me. Change is how life evolves.
What is your biggest strength?
I can adapt to everything. Throw me anywhere in the world and I will somehow adapt and go with it.
And your greatest weakness?
I wear my heart on my sleeve. I trust too much and forgive too easily. That and white carbs...bread and pasta... I can’t help it, I’m half Italian!!!!!
Any regrets so far in your life?
The only regrets I have is that I didn’t save more money and that I didn’t take care of my body the way that I should have. But instead of being sad and dwelling on it, I am turning into a positive and taking care of my body and I am starting to save money. The boyfriend and I want to move into a house at some point.
What is the one question I didn’t ask that you thought I would? And what is the answer to it?
Hmmmmmmm...Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I see myself doing my column and having my lifestyle slot on TV. I see myself married, happily, with lots of beautiful clothes!!! But also having a humble side. I would like to get involved with charity work (that’s something that I am working on now) and give back to the community. And who knows, I might have a hair color that you can find in nature!!!! (And not the electric blue that I am currently considering...)
Lisa, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to interview you for my blog. You are one of the strongest persons I have ever known. You’re a real go-getter who didn’t like what she saw and decided to go out and re-invent herself. A true Real Life Valkyrie who isn’t afraid to fight for what she wants!
I wish you nothing but all the happiness and joy you so richly deserve!!