By Melissa Bernier
Haiti has been all over our timelines and newsfeeds, and for good reason. Amidst a sizable television campaign by the Ministry of Tourism, Haiti has gotten the stamp of approval from several celebrities including Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Gabrielle Union, our own Garcelle Beauvais and Angela Simmons. “Tourism” is the hot button word as of late, and nothing does better for tourism than Instagram feeds lined with pics of celebs frolicking in the sand and sun.
Perspective is extremely important. Unfortunately the perspective that most people here in the states are exposed to with respect to Haiti is the perspective of abject poverty. In my own experiences, especially post-earthquake, when I’ve told people that I was traveling to Haiti their response was either “why?” or “did someone in your family die?” Seriously. Luckily, things for our beloved Haiti are changing and the focus is shifting from poverty and sadness to fun, vacation and memorable experiences.
Speaking of memorable experiences, I had the pleasure of interviewing Angela Simmons about her recent trip to Haiti and her experiences there.
If there is one thing that almost everyone says about visiting Haiti is that it captures your heart. Whatever expectations your have are either completely changed for the better or more than exceeded. According to Simmons, her experience was no different.
“I wasn’t really expecting to fall in love with it [Haiti] the way I did, but I know Haiti has a special place in my heart and my future,” says Simmons. “There is a mystery around Haiti that I find intriguing, it’s one of the places where the culture, the food and the natural beauty collide to capture your affections.”
The brutally cold weather in New York, along with the need to recharge were the reasons behind Simmons’ trip. Her executive assistant, Johanna Desrosiers, who considers Haiti to be her second home, had been talking about the beauty of Haiti for a long time and Angela finally decided to discover it for herself.
“I’m glad all those stories about Haiti opened the door for us to visit. I think that’s how the best trips in life actually happen, when you keep hearing of how a special a place is, you eventually have to see for yourself,” says Desrosiers.
The two spent several days visiting Wahoo Bay Beach Resort, Côte des Arcardins and Pétionville.
Simmons was pictured wearing several beautiful bathing suits from Posh Swimwear (@PoshSwimwear), a retail swimsuit company owned by Haitian-American model and business owner, Sophia Clerius. Her love of vacationing and being an island girl at heart were the motivations behind focusing on just swimwear. Clerius was contacted by Johanna Desrosiers several days before the Haiti trip.
“I didn’t even know that Angela was going to Haiti” Clerius says. She sent over several pieces to Simmons and voila…Instagram magic! According to Simmons, who is photographed wearing bathing suits quite often, Posh Swimwear just happened to be a bathing suit line that she follows on Instagram.
“As a creative, with an eye towards fashion and emerging trends, Posh swimwear is one of the small companies that I help reach a broader audience. I love fighting for the little guy”, says Simmons. For Clerius, there’s nowhere to go from here but up and for Posh Swimwear, “the sky’s the limit.”
The hidden gem that is Haiti is an ideal place for the traveler, sojourner, adventurer and dreamer. Simmons hopes to explore more of the island on her next trip, and I’m sure she will do just that.
“Jiskaske nou rankontre ankò Ayiti”…from, Angela Simmons and Johanna Desrosier