When Prime Minister Dr The Hon Hubert Minnis read her book during National Preschool Week, 17-year-old Sierra Blair was shell-shocked.
“It’s a great honor to have my book read by the Prime Minister and have him support me as a young Bahamian author. It comes during my school’s final exams. I’m completing coursework and prepping for my BGCSEs. This great news was the boost I needed to help me finish up my senior year strong.”
Wrapping up story time, the prime minister told viewers: “I hope you’ve enjoyed such a beautiful story.”
Blair said she’s “full of gratitude” towards all those who supported her in this journey, including her family and graphic artist Lamaro Smith at Motion Smith Studios.
“He brought our family to life on paper. His work ethic, attention to detail and his amazing talent helped elevate the story.”
Blair said “invaluable” retail support provided by the iconic Atlantis Resort and Ardastra Gardens, home to the world-famous marching flamingos, helped the series popularity grow.
“Sometimes young people can be made to feel like their voices or opinions do not matter. This says it does. The series, particularly this second book, provided me with an opportunity to show what we can accomplish with the support of our family, the community and the government.”
In addition to her strong academics, Blair is the winner of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s Rising Star Entrepreneurial Award 2020 and first runner-up in the Girls with Voices Video Competition that attracted 170 entries from 44 countries.
In her free time, the ambitious teen edits and co-hosts the Sierra and Roman’s Cooking Show which has its home on YouTube.
Blair is committed to further developing her culinary, entrepreneurial, writing and video editing skills. Still, she recognizes success does not come overnight.
“We launched Roman and The Pink Flamingos in late November 2018. It took us over two years to get to this point. Our dream started off small. This writing project comes from broke beginnings. I want other teens to know it’s time for us to stop watching and begin working. Once we break bad habits, we can all finish up strong.”
Sierra’s mother, the book’s publisher Tosheena Robinson-Blair, thanked the Early Childhood Education Section of the Department of Education for the opportunity to have the cultural work featured. “We’re pleased that the virtual event provided an opportunity for many more Bahamian children to be entertained by the book. We’re also thankful the government safeguarded our copyright by not allowing the story to reside permanently online, which is a deterrent to purchasing a physical copy.”