Nelli Patrick on the Carry On Friends Podcast

Overcoming Challenges with Faith, Truth & Purpose


Nelli Patrick, Grenada native, professional makeup artist and beauty expert has overcome considerable odds to build a successful career. As an undocumented immigrant, she has faced more than her fair share of obstacles. But she has never let that stand in her way. Instead, she has used her trials as motivation to pursue her dreams. That’s why she shares her story and offers advice to those who are “playing it small.” She wants them to see that it is possible to overcome any obstacle if you have faith, truth and purpose.

Immigration Story

In this episode she shares her immigration story where she legally came to America for college, but soon after became an undocumented immigrant. Nelli explained that a breakdown in family structure and poor communication caused her to come to the U.S. before she should, and therefore jeopardized her immigration status.

Transparently, she tells us about the initial shame that came with feeling like an outsider. However, she learned to release the shame and adjusted her attitude in the face of challenges. Nelli’s daughter became the reason she fought to survive and do whatever needed to be done.

The principles Nelli lives by are faith and truth. These two principles that saw her through homelessness and gave her continuous opportunities for jobs and housing during difficult periods. After losing a job at one point, Nelli decided to do what came naturally to her–makeup–and so her professional makeup career began. Her purpose now is for black women to help black women “put their bags down.”

Nelli and I also address the issue of “playing it small” and how Caribbean upbringings and the immigration process can affect the way we see ourselves. Both Nelli and I share tips for anyone also struggling with this.

Beauty Expert

Nelli is a beauty expert and professional makeup artist who takes pride in creating beauty that speaks to the essence of black women and black girls. Though Nelli began her career in beauty as a self-taught makeup artist, she furthered her education and now has the privilege of teaching other well-respected artists.

She explains that even though there has been some progress with black representation in the beauty industry over the years, disparities still exist. She explores some of these disparities and suggests that more black girls are needed in STEM, specifically in the labs of the beauty product manufacturers. 

Nelli’s work has been featured in Essence, MTV, BET, among many others. Her most notable achievement was an Apple partnership in 2019 for Black History Month.

Through this conversation Nelli speaks to those who are undocumented or who know someone who is. She explains that the immigration fight is also a spiritual fight. She relies on God to see her through. She also emphasizes that the process is not an easy one. But, she believes that no one should be stopped from doing what they desire because they are undocumented. 

Mentioned in this episode:

Brooklyn Tea

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Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown is Founder & host of Carry On Friends one of the first podcasts dedicated to the Caribbean American Experience. She is leading the way for Caribbean Podcast as the founder of Breadfruit Media, the first Caribbean podcast production company; and founder of the Caribbean Podcast Directory a place to discover podcasts by people of Caribbean Heritage.