Photo of Tashi Brown

Tashi Brown

Tashi has been nominated by Sharon Needle of Needle Partners. Sharon says “Where do I begin? This truly beautiful woman was born and grew up in Leeds from parents who came from Nevis and Jamaica. Tashi was in the first series of Britain’s Next Top Model, where she made the final four and went on to be a successful model.

A mum of two, she then (amazingly) became the only black female embalmer in the UK, specialising in restorative work (reconstruction work) e.g. gun shot wounds, facial abnormalities etc. She used her artistic flair to make impressions of deceased babies/ children’s hands or feet as a memory for their parents and family. Tashi now designs costumes for Carnival.”

Who has she helped?

Sharon says “With a West Indian heritage, Tashi has a passion for carnival and what it importantly symbolises for her people.

She’s a makeup artist extraordinaire who put her passion for art, style and make-up into establishing an award-winning carnival troupe.

At the same time, she acknowledges the support carnival has from other communities and the power that carnival has in bringing together different factions of our communities.

Tashi works hard to involve children and youth from her community who while having fun are learning about their history and heritage. She has, on occasion, raised funding so that families on low incomes can participate in the experience of carnival.”

What’s worked?

“Tashi’s flair for colour, design creativity and what can only be described as absolute fabulosity has led to her pulling together Team Creative, a large troupe of women men and children from different backgrounds, age and race. It culminated in the troupe’s success in winning ‘Best Adult Troupe’ at Leeds Carnival in 2018.

Tashi is an amazing woman who in supporting the history of her heritage and the power of the struggle of carnival has managed to utilise that power to bring together people from diverse communities.

There is a huge strength in Tashi’s inclusion of everyone in the troupe (whether participants or the important team behind the organisation). She encourages the celebration of the unrelenting resilience and determination of the people who have fought against and emerged from the struggle of slavery.

Her mission is that the celebration of the success of that struggle is represented through the creativity, music and colour of carnival. Through her passion, which comes through her amazing costume designs, Tashi ensures that the fighting history of her people is remembered by all of us.”

What has she learned? Any challenges?

Tashi says “I have learnt that you have to truly believe in yourself and your ability to make change. Making lots of small changes can lead to big changes. I focus on what I can do rather than what I cannot. I am aware that a lot of challenges have come from myself.

These challenges are not realising my own potential or being fearful of change and failure. They have sometimes stopped me in my tracks. A lack of resources and funds have been a real challenge. However it is about being determined , having perseverance and pushing forward.”

What’s next?

“To continue to grow and develop my skills in both  embalming and costume designing. I want to inspire and motivate people from my community to be excellent in what they are passionate about. To network and build a great brand.”

What advice, contacts or resources would help?

“Having access to professionals who have experience in costume making, events and raising funding/sponsorship . Advice and contacts in these areas would be great.

Help with providing a workshop space or unit. Lack of space is another challenge, as I currently work from a garage with no electricity which is preventing me from creating larger-scale costumes and involving more people in the creative process.”

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!

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