Myrdith McCormack is a Haitian-born entrepreneur who has worn many hats throughout her career. She’s worked as a manicurist; she’s worked on commercials, TV and film projects, and even has her own nail polish line and branding firm. However, most recently, her role is as editorial director of World Bride Magazine.
Find out McCormack drives progress in business and how she’s used her influence to provide aid, support, and empowerment to communities in Haiti.
Describe the work ethic you had at the beginning of your career and how that helped you to get where you are today? What changes did you have to make, if any?
Determination, commitment, and honor coupled with excellence. Those were the values I employ, they’re the very core of how my parents raised my sister, my brother and me.
We came to New York in a time of uneasiness when the city was high with crime and racial tension. It was like nothing I had never seen before in my life. We had to adapt quickly. We had to learn a third language, English, and interact with other children that were not like us ethnically and culturally.
We were thrown in a diverse environment and we had to make it work to survive.
It was those early childhood experience that taught me the value of being determined to learn a language, committed to my school work and proud enough to hold my head up high with honor and dignity while being different than my classmate and neighbors; but also doing so with the level of excellence that my parents expected of her children.
I carried those values throughout my career, from whatever job I took in my early years until now.
In what new ways are you leveraging your platform to continue to be a role model for young people?
I don’t know if I would say I am a role model for anyone. I still need a role models myself. I just try my best to practice what I preach and should I fail, I ask for forgiveness, and make the necessary adjustments, and keep it moving.
When I created World Bride Magazine, it was in response to an issue, a concern that I saw in the fashion industry that I loved so much. I saw diversity, but it was all segregated. However, both society and the media was saying it was inclusive, but the work that was public and popular was not reflective of what they described.
Instead of complaining about it and waiting for someone else to find the solution for me, I decided to do something about it myself and create a platform that was reflected of how I saw the world and what I wanted the world to see.
I wanted diversity and inclusion, so I created a platform that was diverse and inclusive of the world around me. I hope young people or forward thinking people adopt my example of leadership and become part of the solution.
What advantages and disadvantages do you think young people today have and can you relate that to your experiences when you were younger?
In many ways, young people have more opportunities than my generation had. On the same token, I see things are slipping back when it comes to race relationships. The animosity towards immigrants and foreigners saddens me.
Young people have more access to tools such as social media to send out global messages that will inform others of their concerns, disappointments, and frustration. We didn’t have that. That tool in itself is powerful if used wisely for a positive change.
When I do further study and look at the conditions, I see that so many groups have experienced the same tension, which is why I don’t allow others to make me feel that my situation is isolated or that I am less important because of where I come from. Through all the adversities young people have had to face, they have helped to solve many issues; so I am confident that young people today will rise to the occasion and be the change they want to see with the same determination and commitment and do so with honor and dignity.
I see it all the time. I’m inspired by it.
How has being born in Haiti changed your perspective of style and beauty?
I was too young to know much about style and beauty from the men and women of Haiti, but when I look back at the old photos of my childhood; my mom was pretty fabulous. Her sense of style is my inspiration today, her ladylike qualities and her style of fashion; the layering of her clothes, her afro and her mode of style were so amazing. I am so honored to call her my mom.
Because of my Haitian roots, the use of color is very dominant. You can see it in the environment, and in home decor and because of that I have never been shy about my use of color. We are colorful people in speech and in style.
While braids have been a challenge here in American society, in Haiti, natural hair and braids have always been a way of life. So thank goodness for that.
How do you keep in touch with the Haitian community while maintaining such a busy professional life?
I eat Haitian cuisine! That is the best part of being Haitian. I also try my best to visit art shows with my current associates that are committed to the culture, they keep me educated.
I love Haitian art. Whenever there is anything related to the arts I try to support as much as I can and if I find out there are Haitian designers, stylists, makeup artists, or hairstyles in the fashion industry I make sure to identify myself and throw a couple of words in.
I still want to do my part and contribute positively back home too, it has been a while, so my goal is to help showcase some of Haiti’s beauty by taking a trip back to Haiti, maybe produce a fashion shoot back home, and helping to showcase some of Haiti’s amazing artisans.
What has defined your experience as a Haitian-American entrepreneur?
The struggle. My experience has not been easy and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier, but I’m trying to tell myself to enjoy it. Don’t rush it, don’t be so disappointed if things don’t go as planned. Don’t be so hurt when others disappoint you, they may not mean to or even know they hurt you. I tell myself, “you are not the first nor will you be the last person to get what you want when you want it, so get over yourself and get back to work”.
I surround myself with people who are not afraid of challenges, ambitious, and kind. Those who have a healthy, and loving fear of God and want good for mankind.