PAULA VANHORNE: Barista Spotlight

Home Cafe: Lake Nona

This week's spotlight was on Paula VanHorne.

Paula VanHorne is a barista from our Lake Nona Foxtail store and this week we chose her for our Barista Spotlight. Paula is a college student who is currently studying film at Valencia College and is also working on a novel. She is an incredible member of her team and an even more incredible person.

I first asked Paula the infamous question, "DC or Marvel?" Little did I know how big of query this was. From the Justice League animated series to Teen Titans, Paula has watched a lot of DC content and even admits to owning DC Universe, a streaming service which houses their movies, TV shows, and comic books. However, when the Iron Man movie came out, she was won over by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "I'm a film buff" she stated. "The problem that I have with DC is that right now they're not really putting good content out at all. Watching that stuff kind of makes me cringe." She then went on to praise Marvel for their more recent films by calling them "Amazing". With all that said, she still claimed DC as the winner overall but offered her favorite superheroes from both publishers, Nightwing and Iron Man respectively.

Her love of superheroes has clearly influenced her, as the protagonists in her book, Exodus, each have powers of their own. In her words, Exodus is about "three siblings with cool powers that have to end the war that separated them". With this book she hopes to deeply inspire people but she also dreams of one day getting it to the big screen. She did have resentments, however, about people messing with her work. "See now that's not going to fly, that's not going to fly at all" she said in response to a hypothetical book-to-film adaptation that would change her original narrative. "I'm going to give them a couple drafts of script and be like 'Listen you can choose one of these, you can't choose anything else'" she offered as she laughed defiantly at a future producer.

Paula is also passionate about the movement, Black Lives Matter. One aspect that she highlights with her new book is the presence of strong black female protagonists."[Exodus] does encircle a family of black people, definitely anti-police brutality" said Paula referencing one of the intended focuses of her book. When asked "If you could change any one thing about the state of our country right now, what would it be?" her response is in regard to the culture of black Americans: "Honestly, it's not even so much changing the country—it’s about changing the perception. I think just understanding where we come from as black people and as a black community and understanding our history more and how we can use our gifts to change other people’s perceptions—I think that'll be the best thing for our country."

Paula is a first generation American whose family mostly resides in Jamaica. When asked "if she could be anywhere in the world right now where would it be?" Paula replied with "Honestly, I would probably be on the white sands of Jamaica—that’s hope for me." Paula is returning to Jamaica for a Christmas vacation this year and we wish her a wonderful time. We're lucky to have incredible people who work for our company and Paula's deserving of every ounce of such recognition.

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