Honestly... I didn't think I could get an interview with Paula! After all, she's busy running a beauty company!... Well, you just never know until you ask...
I'm delighted she agreed to my request and then somehow found time to answer my questions. I love celebrating successful redheads so was eager to find out more about Paula...
I feel privileged doing these interviews, and in the process I'm discovering there are quite a few remarkable redheads out there -- and she's one of them!
Before we get to the interview below, here’s a bit more about her....
Many redheads know her beauty products company, ‘Just for Redheads’
-- she is the founder and president. The company began after seeing the need for beauty products designed specifically for red heads, like herself. But there's more... What I’ve since discovered is that she also has a passion for politics!
Being born and raised in Ohio, Paula had graduated from the University of Toledo with a business communications degree and then worked for a large fortune 500 company. Following that, in the early 1990s, she ran for city council and also for mayor (unsuccessfully) while living in Toledo, Ohio. She also did a stint as a political talk show host with WSPD Radio.
After she met her husband, Duane Abbajay, they later moved to the warmer climate of Arizona and now have a wonderful son. While she is involved in her JFR beauty products business and spending time with her family, she also is pursuing her passion for politics!
Paula’s been featured on Arizona’s '3TV' as well as interview features by ’People Magazine’ and ’Lifetime For Women Television’ so I’m thrilled to have her featured on my web site! Thank you, Paula !
Okay, grab your tea or coffee and I hope you enjoy this time to chat with Paula........
1) Thank you, Paula, for taking time from your busy day to do the interview and chat with us! Would you please take a moment to introduce yourself and tell us about your family? And what brought you from Ohio to Arizona?
Having grown tired of cold winters, my husband and I decided to move to beautiful Arizona in 1998. Summers are a bit daunting, but for 9 months a year it is pure heaven. I come from a family of seven and have one 9-year-old son whom I love more than life. My passion in life is politics and I plan to run for Arizona state Legislature in 2010.
2) Are you the only redhead in your family and do you have any brothers or sisters? Were your parents surprised by the arrival of a red-haired baby?
Out of seven children, only myself and my older brother were lucky enough to enter the world as natural red heads. To say that both my dark-haired parents were surprised would be an understatement.
3) On your "Just for Redheads" (JFR) website , you state "Our mission is to help every redhead discover their natural beauty." After seeing the success of JFR, (over 20 million customers in over 100 countries) a lot of redheads obvious identify with that! Were you shocked by JFR’s success? And, are you personally involved in product development?
I am personally involved in all product development and PR. My husband, whom I could not have grown this business without, is in charge of day-to-day operations.
We are a real mom and pop shop. It all started because I really did not like the way black mascara made me look. The words fake, cheap, and unnatural come to mind.
On our first date my husband asked why do I have such beautiful red hair but have dark black eye lashes. Most women would have dumped their dessert on their date's lap, but I liked that he took an active interest in how I looked. That first date was the beginning of Just for Redheads.
5) Tell us a bit about your husband, Duane Abbajay. After reading the 'People Magazine' interview and the story of your first date you just mentioned, he sounds like quite a guy! How did you initially meet and what’s been his role during the whole JFR journey?
My wonderful husband was introduced to me by one of my campaign volunteers from my race for mayor of Toledo in 1991. The rest is history! (NOTE: They married in 1993.)
6) As a mom, what one thing has surprised you the most these past years raising your son, Frazier? What would you like to share about him and, of course, I have to find out – is he a redhead?
Yes, he is a beautiful redhead. I never thought he would have red hair, as my husband has dark Arabic skin and dark brown hair. Frazier got the best of both. My red hair and my husband's dark eye lashes. What surprises me most about raising a child today is how electronically savvy they are at such a young age. If I can't work something on my phone or camera, I ask Frazier. Simply amazing!
7) As a businesswoman, blogger, Republican political activist, wife, and mom, how do you manage it all and still find time for yourself and your many interests? What helps you stay balanced and keep your sanity?
I set three days a week minimum for exercise. I love hot yoga and have taken up karate, as I need to vastly improve my sparring technique before I go back into politics. Surrounding yourself with good hard-working people is the only way I keep sane! A nice glass of wine with family and friends on weekends also helps!
8) As a natural redhead, did you deal with teasing growing up? How did you feel about yourself? Please share any advice for other young redheads or their parents.
I always thought of myself as a skinny, flat-chested redhead. I suffered from a very low self-esteem growing up. I got teased, but not as much as my brother. I think being a girl with red hair is a lot easier than for a boy. I really did not come into my own until after college, thanks to a Catholic priest friend of mine who was my mentor in life. He taught me to believe in myself and to never give up!
9) I have to ask you this, as I think all redheads deal with the stereotypes about them. Do you feel that reds have a different temperament? What would your husband and family say?
Yes we do! Ask my husband. Blind partisanship can really get my redheaded temper to flare. I have little tolerance for political cronyism and corruption.
10) Since the lovely country singer Reba McEntire is listed on my ‘Famous Singers’ page, I’m VERY curious about your salute to her on your JFR website. What prompted this and is there a story behind it?
I just had to ask!
I met Reba when I was on the 'Crook and Chase' show promoting Just for Redheads. She came out immediately following my segment. On my segment I talked about how redheads should never wear black mascara, black eyeliner, or any black close to our face such as a black turtlenecks. And wouldn't you know it -- out came Reba wearing all of the above and joked, "I guess I got it all wrong." You can imagine my horror. She was a good sport about it nonetheless. I then presented her with JFR's top-selling beauty products which she graciously accepted.
11) In your 'Scottsdale Republic Editoral Blog', I was pleasantly surprised to read that your real passion is politics. You stated that in 2nd grade you announced that you were going to be a US Senator! Where did this love for politics come from? What is it about politics that attracts you? And, what’s the future hold for you politically?
I wish I knew where this passion comes from. I guess I was born with it. I come from a long line of governors, senators, even generals. So it must be genetic. Only time will tell what the future holds as I prepare to run for the state legislature in 2010.
12) On your blog you mentioned several things that struck me: Even though you ran unsuccessfully for city council and mayor in Toledo, Ohio, nevertheless you still felt "each loss was a victory" and "you win by losing." After Toledo, you said you "never want to be beholden to anyone for my livelihood"...(thus JFR). Plus, your favorite saying in life is: "Only those who dare!" ... I admire your passion and positive attitude. Where did this positive outlook on life come from and your passion to ‘dare’ ?
I consider that I won even after losing my bid to be mayor of Toledo as I am now living in beautiful Arizona, have a gorgeous son, and am running a successful business with my husband.
In terms of my favorite saying, "only those who dare," if we have any hope of turning around the decline of our nation's poorest cities, it is going to take a lot of passion and willingness to call out those who have aided in the decline of these once great cities. The "culture of corruption" is rampant in politics today. It's in both parties. And it starts at the local level and goes all the way up to the national level.
America is sick of the bickering and petty politics. What I want to do is bring the best ideas from both parties together -- no good ideas should be left on the table, when it comes to solving the important issues facing this great nation. ......'THE END'......
Thanks again to Paula for taking time from her busy routine to let me 'pick her brain' so to speak! It was a pleasure learning more about her and what goes on behind the scenes of this successful businesswoman and passionate politician. And of course, as a mom of redheads, I was happy to discover her son also has red hair... just never know when and where those recessive genes will show up!
Her interview especially made me appreciate how people come into our lives to help us, mentor us, come alongside us, and encourage us as they have in Paula's life. Well, I do wish her the best of success....and my prayers especially go with her as she tackles the political arena, doing what she really loves. Keep in touch, Paula!
Again, her website links are: Her Beauty Products - Just For Redheads
Her Blog - Scottsdale Republic Editorial Blog
ALSO find her on "Twitter" and "Facebook"
-- I've also posted a video of Paula on my "Your Videos" pages showing how to apply the Just For Redheads henna hair dye.
To my readers, let me know your thoughts on the interview.
Plus, if you have someone particular in mind you’d like me to chat with, drop me a note at my 'Contact Me' page. Thanks for visiting!
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