The BAHS Hall of Fame

The Bishop Anstey High School has a long tradition of alumnae achievement. Many of our graduates have gone on to stellar accomplishments in academics, career, and more. We are working on showcasing these great women here. So look out for more content soon!

Are you/do you know an accomplished Hilarian? Get in touch with us today!

Patrice Grell Yursik, creator and owner of the Afrobella beauty blog

Check out her blog here!

The first time someone recognised Patrice Grell Yursik as her beauty-blogging alter ego Afrobella, she was at the grocery store in Miami, contemplating dinner. It was clear then that the Trinidad-born and -raised writer had a winner on her hands. And that was four years ago. These days, fan recognition isn’t so rare. And Yursik is hard to miss, with her signature well-tended afro and unique sense of style. She was fresh-faced and bubbly in our Skype interview from her Chicago apartment. "It’s the most wonderful thing, but it’s also kind of weird," said Yursik, her Trini accent still going strong. "I can’t go out the house looking any kind of way any more, and I kind of miss that. It’s crazy to walk into a huge event and be recognised." What began as an idea shared with friends over wine in 2006 – to create a blog that spoke to women of colour, that made it OK to have natural hair, to be glamorous and to love make-up – has become a worldwide phenomenon. "I just couldn’t find a print or online publication that spoke to me, so I created what I couldn’t find," said Yursik, 33. "I write about things that inspire me; I write about things that will inspire others."

Now, thanks to her regular blog posts on hair and Afrobella-tested beauty products, music, culture, politics and personal topics, Yursik is an undisputed opinion-leader in the international beauty world, with an online fanbase of more than 28,000 Twitter followers and over 14,000 on Facebook. Afrobella.com gets upwards of 150,000 hits per month. And the truth isn’t only in the numbers. "I think she’s opened up what beauty can be, from all shapes, sizes, hair textures, colours," said Felicia Leatherwood, a close friend of Yursik’s and natural-hair stylist to stars like Jill Scott. "Her blog stands out because it hits another level of what beauty is for women of all nationalities."

Last December, Yursik was named one of Ebony magazine’s 100 most powerful people of 2011, alongside the likes of Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah, Jay-Z and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien. She worked with leading cosmetics company MAC on a limited-edition, often-sold-out MAC lipgloss. Add to the list Urban Decay and Lancôme. This New York Fashion Week regular also graced the red carpet at the Oscars. Her blog awards are too numerous to name.

"When English and writing are your only real skills, your only real loves, it can be scary in the Caribbean," Yursik said. But the headstrong Yursik is not one to be easily fazed, says her mother, Peggy Grell. She describes Patrice, the youngest of five siblings, as an intellectually curious child, seldom afraid to challenge boundaries and ask difficult questions. Belmont-born and Westmoorings-bred, Yursik began writing as a child, penning poetry in closely guarded notebooks. Before graduating from the Bishop Anstey High School, she wrote for the Sunday Guardian.

"I’m not afraid anymore of standing up and saying something, but I try to be very careful with my words because I know that there’s power there. I try to follow my gut and do what feels right to me and the response has been good. Afrobella is a powerful brand."

Re-printed with the permission of Caribbean Beat magazine. Click here to view the full original article, written by Kari Cobham.