Actress and model Tinashel Phillips shows that she is not just a pretty face. Phillips, who was once one of the most-featured video vixens, creates gourmet sensations for private clients as Chef Karma with her culinary company, Pretty Chefs International.
Phillips grew up with 11 siblings on the small island of St.Thomas, Virgin Islands and comes from the tribe of Indians called the Tainos. Phillips said her associate’s degree from Le Cordon Bleu taught her French cuisine, and Japanese men taught her hibachi. She describes herself as funny, unorthodox and loving.
Some of these responses have been edited for clarity.
Tell us about your journey:
My journey has only just begun. I decided that I wanted to make a difference, and I planned on doing that through food. I love food because it brings people together. People can live without a lot of things, but food is not one of them. As society evolves, so does my food. I love creating innovative dishes.
What inspired you to pursue your goal?
I wanted to facilitate change through the culinary arts. People get so happy when they taste something amazing. My dishes create memories, and that is inspiring.
What do you like most about being Caribbean American?
I grew up around palm trees, fresh coconut water and catching fish to fry. Most will never experience this. For some, it is only a luxury, but for me, it’s everyday life.
What is your definition of success?
Happiness! I love what I do, so I never feel like it’s a job. Once you figure out the answer to your happiness, then you are successful.
When are you the happiest?
I’m the happiest when I’m doing an event with my two little protégés, my son Taeni and my daughter Titi. They are truly the stars of the show.