A former model and actress who dated Lil Wayne, Vanessa LeMaistre has spent significant time in the media spotlight. After a devastating loss, she began a journey of self-discovery, challenging fear, and gaining inner strength. When she published the book Believe in Your Soul, I had a lot to ask her about. Below is our conversation.
Disclosure: In this sponsored interview, Vanessa illustrates how to face fear and pain head-on, inspiring us to transcend these obstacles and discover our true selves.
Interview with Vanessa LeMaistre
Vanessa LeMaistre found herself at a fork in the road after her son Kamden transitioned over, but still committed to finding her true inner self and real strength. An M.A. in Resilient Leadership with a focus in sustainability and social justice followed, as did new sources of hope and energy. Today, she is an empowerment coach, public speaker, and leader of feminine healing circles.
She is a living vessel of her multi-raced, Haitian spiritual roots and now fully accepts her calling as a shaman. Her sense of duty allows others to see light illuminate their paths in life through her tarot and mediumship. All the while, she has the empowering words of Napoleon Hill and transformative trips from the heart of the Peruvian Jungle resonating deep within her.
Vanessa is at home in sunny LA, embraces yoga, eats well, and spends time with her Frenchie puppy. Let’s get to the interview and talk about the book, not giving up, overcoming fear, and more!
I love the book title! What does it mean to ‘Believe in Your Soul’?
To believe in your soul is to believe in the infinite part within you that is not bound by the constructs of ego. The soul is that part of you that understands at an internal level that everything is truly temporary.
It is the essence of the scientific concept for the conservation of energy- the aspect of Self where energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form of energy to the other.
Your soul is the center of your higher self, unlike the thinking self that most of us operate from on a daily basis. There is always the self (higher self) that is witnessing and observing the living experience yet is more accurately closer to who we are as a being.
To Believe in Your Soul is to believe in the limitless aspect of your essence, the part that is fearless.
What inspired you to write this type of book, and why now?
I always loved to read, since I was a young girl. It was a peaceful time for me when going through trauma as an adolescent. I recall skipping school so many times to get lost in what I viewed as a candy store: The bookstore. Funny enough, I got inspired while in a bookstore one day and heard a child tell their mother, while on an escalator, “Mommy, mommy, life really is a fairytale.”
That day, that child inspired me and made me remember the beauty that lies within the essence of the innocence found in children. The essence that lies within us all. It made me connect to the fact that life truly is magical and it is whatever we wish to make it… A fairytale or a nightmare.
I then began writing and mistakenly had a friend who was an acclaimed writer read it and bash it, which caused me to give up, unfortunately. But that experience became my fuel and motivation. A few years later, I moved across the country and told myself, “You know what, I’m going to write that book again.” Maybe it’s a different book, but I am going to write it because who’s to say it doesn’t help someone else out?
I remembered the fire that lit up inside of me when I wrote that first time, and it felt too good to throw it all away because of one person’s “acclaimed” opinion. So I began writing again, and I never stopped. I even have a second book of self-love journal notes planned to release in 2024. Writing, to me, is a beautiful, creative art that can be very cathartic.
I’m so glad you didn’t give up. You write about looking for one’s true self — Do we look inward or outward?
I believe it is neither. Looking for our true selves is neither solely an inward process nor solely an outward process. I believe looking for our true selves is an aspect of being, allowing, accepting.
If we’re looking too much inside then we’re not really present to the reality of life. If we’re looking too much on the outside, there’s obvious reasons for why that is not very helpful.
I would say finding our true selves is a combination of the two because it is an ever-evolving process of rebirth that happens moment to moment. It is an inner cognizant knowing.
We are magical beings beyond our wildest dreams. You are life-living. Nature, for example, doesn’t need to look inward or outward to know its true self; it simply just is its true self. The more authentic you can be, the closer you are to being your truest and realest self.
Looking at your self-journey, how did you transition from model to motivational speaker and healer?
For me, it mostly happened organically as I was always very deep as a young girl. I was just born this way. However, this was not always accepted with living in a modern society in a big city.
Modeling came naturally to me, and it was pretty easy. Opportunities would kind of just come my way. And as I got older, [I] saw the industry more for what it was. I remember thinking and telling people that I didn’t want to do what every pretty girl wanted to do, which was either to be a model or actress.
Later in my life, I realized that I genuinely enjoyed acting and found it to be cathartic and therapeutic. I still wanted to focus my energy on something different. But after I went through major life traumas, I decided to listen to my calling as a shaman. It was first foretold to me when I was 21 years old that I was a shaman and that I didn’t have a choice.
Being young and stubborn, I didn’t want to listen to this calling. So, I kept living my life, waking up in different cities, on yachts, top-tier parties, etc. It wasn’t until I lost my 9-month-old son Kamden that I decided to follow my calling and take it seriously. At that moment, I felt like enough was enough, and I was finally willing to do what I came here to do in this life.
I then had two other people confirm that I was a shaman, including a blind shaman in Peru. I feel like the universe knew I needed confirmations like these so I would take something like this seriously.
Like many healers, I used to have many doubts like “Why me? A healer? Nah.” But it was the truth of who I am.
When I was 21 years old, a friend of mine who knew I spoke well and was passionate about self-help suggested that I become a motivational speaker. When she suggested this, it was like a light bulb went off, and I never looked back.
Your story is powerful. In your opinion, how is fear holding many of us back, and what can we do about it?
I’m convinced that even though we can’t completely rid ourselves of 100% fear, we can look it dead in the eye and say screw it! I’m going to do it anyway. The more you are able to do this, the more you can live more fearlessly. You start to get over it and realize that it is not even real.
Fear holds us back by us believing it is real, by us believing some imagined outcome has an overwhelming power over us. The reality is either you’re going to believe in fear or believe in yourself. Choose the latter option and believe in you.
Our perspective is a choice. There is a book that I love called ‘Outwitting the Devil,’ written by Napoleon Hill in 1938. In the book, Hill has a conversation with the devil, throughout the entire book, and the devil alludes to controlling 98% of people on the planet through fear. He further explains to Hill that he does this because oftentimes people are too lazy to think for themselves, which in turn, allows him to control their minds with fear.
I say all of this because nearly every living being is afraid to die, but once you face that fear and realize that after you die, you will still exist as energy, which can never be created nor destroyed, it removes that fear. It’s about looking at the various angles, thinking outside the imaginary box, and always remembering to come back to yourself where your soul lies.
Your soul is always fearless. Your soul has nothing to fear. One of my favorite lines in the book is, “Have no fear, God is here.”
Wow. Another topic in Believe in Your Soul is your relationship with Lil Wayne. What insights did you gain from this time together?
I share in the book very briefly about my time with Lil Wayne as a part of my truth and authenticity. It’s meant for those girls who may glamorize wanting to date a man with money, fame, and status without realizing, it’s not all it alludes to, and all that glitters isn’t gold.
I share that the real journey is in loving yourself and not looking for things outside of ourselves to fill a void. The true way to find transformation is by healing and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, focusing on what your soul is truly seeking.
My goal with sharing this aspect of my life is to honor my authenticity as it was an impactful part of my journey. And secondly, to let young ladies know that knowing and loving oneself is firstmost, before looking for love in all the wrong places.
When in the media spotlight, did you number your feelings to cope? Is numbing more common than we might realize?
I definitely had my share of experiences in numbing. I think numbing is more common than we think. I talk about this a lot in my book because we may think we are healing through retail therapy for example, but in reality, we are avoiding the breakup pain and PTSD we just experienced from being cheated on by our partner for the past eight months.
For me personally, I was projecting a lot of my own needs and voids in an imbalanced way. I tend to do better when I am more focused inward and living a holistic and grounded lifestyle.
Numbing for me at that time was going out a lot. Seeking validation in various ways. Looking for other’s approval through materialistic things.
It was the shopping, the likes on social media, the photos, the party scenes, the socialite lifestyle. It all looked good on the outside, but on the inside, I was lost, and the void was never getting filled.
Along with feeling numb, you also write in the book about feeling pain. What do you wish more people knew about pain?
I wish more people understood that pain, to a certain degree, is a normal part of life. The sun does not shine bright every day, no matter where you are. There are going to be some cloudy days, and there are going to be some storms where your life may feel like a whirlpool. I wish everyone understood that this is never meant to bring us down, but [is] always there to build us up.
Life is always happening – for us to grow, for us to be stronger, for us to learn a lesson, for us to evolve. There is always a positive to come from every pain, and we need to find the blessing in disguise. We will grow from recognizing the silver lining.
Some of the deepest transformations within [the] self happen from pain as a catalyst. I wish people knew how to transmute pain into something beautiful or creative, whether it’s art, a body of work, dancing, screaming, or shouting.
Back in the day, Black folks especially, used to have religious rituals, like ring shouts where they would let their souls wail out all of their pain within the community through screaming and shaking. This was done in a ceremony or ritual and the privacy of our home. It can be very powerful.
Facing the emotion of pain and letting it move, as energy in motion, allows us to grow beyond the pain. This is how we heal.
When we lean into our vulnerabilities, true transformation happens. This can only be done by looking at our pain and not running away from it. Lastly, I wish people knew that their souls signed up for this and they will get through it. They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t strong enough to handle it like the warrior that their soul is.
A warrior soul. I love that. What else do you hope people take away from reading this book?
I hope that people can draw closer to themselves; love themselves more; be more compassionate with themselves; be more free with themselves; trust themselves more and feel safer within themselves. I hope people can believe in their desires and follow their dreams. Even if they don’t achieve it, they’ll know they gave it their best shot, and at the end gained something out of it.
The book is meant to help people accept themselves; fully live their lives and create the lives they want to live. As long as they are not hurting themselves or others.
A lot of what inspired me to write Believe in Your Soul is knowing how hard life can be and the fact that we’re not given a roadmap. We don’t have direction unless we are open to receiving advice and direction from the Universe.
I chose to write my book in a very “real-talk” tone of voice to allow it to resonate and have an impact on all types of people. Many of the self-help books out there all sound the same and can sometimes be redundant.
That’s why I took a different approach and included affirmations at the end of each chapter. My hope is that this book reaches someone in a dark place and helps motivate them to keep on going and to keep on shining. It’s also for someone just going through life and needs a little pick-me-up and a reminder that there’s more out there.
I’m curious, what did you learn about yourself while writing Believe in Your Soul?
I learned a lot about myself while writing Believe in Your Soul. For one, everytime I sat down to write the book, I asked the Creator or Holy Spirit – sourcing energy to take hold of my hands and write.
I knew the minute I started writing that I could not take all the credit for the book once it was complete. I learned it was not on my timeline but on the higher power’s timeline.
If it were up to me, it wouldn’t have taken me ten years to get it out, but that’s not the way it was supposed to be. I realized that there is a flow that takes place when writing a book. It is a rich and beautiful creative process. A form of art, if you will.
I learned that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Anyone can write a book because, with all art, there is no right or wrong. Everyone has something to share, so why not leave it in something that weathers time and is here forever. You never know who will learn from it.
I learned in the process of writing Believe in Your Soul to actually believe in my soul. For me, it was a goal and desire, and a dream come true.
One of those things you tell yourself, “But I don’t think I can do that,” and then boom, you do it! It feels magical because you actually did it. I always wanted to encourage others. I guess you can say I have an encouraging spirit.
The book helped me get through some of my darkest days. It gave me something to look forward to. Oftentimes, when we write or journal to ourselves, an inner wiser voice of self comes out. If you look back during hard times, you may surprise yourself at the advice your inner/higher self has given to you. There are many times I go back to re-read what I have written because I need a re-learning session, and that’s okay.
I also learned to never give up. The title alone is a reminder to not give up but to believe in something greater within you. I also learned how much I love writing because of how much of a release it is, a whole vibe within itself.
Your spirit is very encouraging. One last question! Can you share with us one piece of life advice from the book?
One piece of advice that sounds so simple but sometimes is not is “Don’t judge, Just love.” The more we judge others, the more we simultaneously judge ourselves; if not more. On the journey of self-love and believing in yourself, it is Sooo important for us not to judge ourselves.
For instance, if I have an experience (or a lesson, if you will), where I notice that I am not being a very grateful person and my “thank you’s” are sounding staged, like they’re really not resonating with me or coming from a truthful place, that is a blessing. It is a blessing because it’s an opportunity to become more self-aware and to grow. To choose to become more grateful as a person.
But if we’re busy judging ourselves, that lesson could get completely overlooked, or worse, we could criticize ourselves harshly and not show compassion to ourselves. There’s a big message in the book about not judging. Paying attention to when we notice ourselves judging ourselves or others. Instead, choose to love and let ourselves be. Let people be.
Judging is the opposite of love. We become more elevated when we are tapped into the frequency of love and so do our lives. We can manifest more, and life is sweeter. Just love.
Get your copy of Believe in Your Soul now
Vanessa LeMaistre’s book is not just another self-help guide; it’s a raw and authentic exploration of life’s challenges and how to overcome them. Believe in Your Soul encourages us to embrace our authentic selves, love unconditionally, and believe in our dreams. In her own words, “Don’t judge, just love,” and let her book be your guide on your personal journey of self-discovery and empowerment.
Connect with Vanessa LeMaistre online
Find Vanessa at SoulXo, where you can find out more about her book and candles, as well as how she created Kamden’s Room to help children achieve their dreams. Vanessa also is available to book for intuitive coaching, public speaking, and more.
What aspects of Vanessa LeMaistre’s journey and insights resonate with your own life? How might you apply her wisdom to your path of self-discovery and empowerment?