Trinidad & Tobago Independence “Diaspora’s Next Gen” Spotlight: Vanessa James

As Trinidad and Tobago celebrates 53 years of independence, the National Weekly turns to the Twin Republic’s booming diaspora here in South Florida, celebrating young and talented individuals 40 and under that are already taking our community to the next level. From young Taekwondo masters to university deans, from artists to tastemakers, no doubt our future is bright in their hands.

Meet media maven Vanessa James.

Age: 35

Hometown: San Fernando

Profession: Voiceover Actor, Producer and Social Media Strategist

With a face for the screen, a voice for radio, and the brains to conquer all, it’s no wonder Vanessa James is making waves. Through her own brand management and content production company VJMedia, Vanessa has become a multi-media master of ceremonies.

With both Trini and Venezuelan backgrounds, the bi-lingual presenter is the voice for stations across the U.S., travel correspondent for platforms like US Today, and brand ambassador for Cadillac and Chevy, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, and Jamaica’s Jazz and Blues Fest.

Her current success came from a difficult decision to leave her first love, radio, at her post as music director and midday host for Miami’s WMIB-FM 103.5 The Beat.

“Leaving traditional radio after over 12 years to start my own company was probably one of my biggest risks,” says Vanessa. “But I’ve always been the kind of person that’s thrived on challenges; it must be the Trinidadian in me.”

Though hard, the move deeply satisfied Vanessa’s longing to “connect deeper with the people that I once spoke to every day on the radio in the diverse community of South Florida.”

And no one mingles better than Vanessa, particularly through her signature event, VJMedia Mixology, where local bloggers, journalists and tastemakers gather to talk shop over cocktails, fulfilling a collaborative “niche that needed to be served,” says Vanessa.

For 2015, Vanessa plans to take the creative fete worldwide through her new travel show, “Carnival to the World,” uncovering carnivals in the Caribbean, South America and Europe. Premiering September 26 in midtown Miami, the new project proves deeply personal for the proud Trini.

“The spirit of Carnival is much more than just a yearly event,” says Vanessa. “The revelry, costumery, the Mas, vibrant music and people are all a reflection of our cosmopolitan island.”

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