By Alex Popa
In her profession and approach to life, Vanessa Camilien-Petersen is creativity personified. Born and raised in Boston, MA, Vanessa moved to South Florida after college and then relocated to Denmark. There, she had a son who turned out to be autistic, which meant she had to be strong to surmount the obstacles in her path. Fortunately, Vanessa doesn’t give up easily.
Her steadfast attitude was borne out of her life circumstances and the birth of her son. She had to adopt new approaches to help her son cope. They were inspired partly by culture, art, and her inner sense of self-affirmation and creativity. She’s not only in love with fashion and jewelry hand-crafting but also a writer for a fashion magazine in Denmark. Is there anything this woman can’t do?
What Does She Think About Her Haitian Heritage?
Vanessa admits she wasn’t overly optimistic about life in Haiti. However, there’s one thing she’s thankful for. “Growing up Haitian, I became empathetic to every Haitian, and I hope that one day our persevering spirit will prevail.” Haitians were always the underdogs, she says, but they have a lot of potential. They can rise and achieve great things through education and hard work.
She would gladly mentor the younger Haitian generation. Vanessa doesn’t think money is the only answer to Haiti’s problems. Poor education, the lack of role models, and weak principles are more important issues to tackle. In Haiti, people like Vanessa can make a difference, and fortunately, she’s willing to put in the time to help its children take a step forward in the world.
She even sought out a small business in Haiti that makes the beads she uses in her hand-crafted jewelry. While she has no formal training in jewelry design, her creativity is ever-alive and profound.
Moving to Denmark and starting a thriving business was challenging but extremely gratifying once she succeeded.
What Is She Most Proud of?
Her biggest pride is her son. Navigating life as a parent and entrepreneur was certainly not easy – but if anything, Vanessa is living proof that it can be done! Her experiences are a testament to the enduring willpower of Haitians.
In the future, she plans to further penetrate the Danish market, publish more content in local publications, and sell more jewelry. Finally, she wants to make an impact on the lives of the people who are watching and listening to her.
Vanessa is one of our top Haitian Entrepreneurs of 2022, and we’ve covered her extensively. This bead artisan has something to say to the people following her. “Don’t let life’s circumstances dictate your drive. Push through life’s lemons and limitations and take the necessary risks. You’ll win, as I did!”