A Journey to Living Well and Writing the Next Chapter of Black History
How do you feel being an immigrant/child of an immigrant impacted what you saw as career possibilities?
Growing up in a working class family in Jamaica I did not know anyone who was a dermatologist. And besides my family doctor I did not interact with any doctors. The dream to become a medical doctor began after my father planted the seed when I was age 7 which is when he started calling me “Dr. Ingleton”. I was an excellent student and he was reaching for the biggest profession he could fathom. His attitude was “Why not?” He planted the initial seed, and my mother nurtured and guided me along that path after he died in 1980.
Do you feel the Black American experience is different than the experience of Black Immigrants?
I do feel a distinct difference between my Black immigrant perspective/experience than that of Black Americans. I come from a culture where I was not oppressed and relegated to second class citizenship status because of my skin color. I come from an island where people who looked like me are the leaders, the professionals and the business owners. I never felt that there were things I couldn’t achieve because of my skin color. My limitations were related to economics and social class. Both of my parents were factory workers with grade school educations. When I came to the US I came “on a mission” to take full advantage of all the opportunities available. I came with the innate drive and laser focus to accomplish all that was possible. I am certain that I succeeded because I did not have the burden of the historic struggles that Black Americans are born into and live with on a daily basis. I did not listen to the message that my dreams were not possible.
What was the goal for you? What helped to drive you to your accomplishments?
The goal was to get a “good education”, with the expectation that through education I could rise from my working class upbringing to become an accomplished doctor and thereby become part of the upper class. I had an innate drive but it was the constant support and encouragement from my mother that helped me to stay the course. My mother is a force of nature. She encouraged me constantly to strive for the highest heights. She saw her role as the facilitator to help me get there. She is my secret weapon. I just had to do the work.
Were there any rules of thumb or sayings repeated to you in your childhood that you live by to this very day?
The Jamaican phrase “If you want good, your nose have to run”. Meaning that sacrifice is necessary in order to reach your goals.
Also the Jamaican phrase “one one cocoa full basket” is a phrase that reminds me that it’s ok to start small, but understand that with proper planning, consistency and perseverance you can reach your goals.
So many of the things that I have accomplished seem impossible and improbable if you just look at the finished product. But what is sometimes overlooked is how much planning and hard work was put in, over a long time to arrive at the finished product.
Pick three theme songs for your life. One for childhood, one for when you just entered the working world, and what’s your current theme song?
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”
“It’s my house and I live here” by Diana Ross
“I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan
“My Day” by Tarrus Riley
“About Damn Time” by Lizzo
Did you know that by being who you are and pursuing your aspirations, you would be helping to write the following chapters of Black History? How does that make you feel?
Not in a million years could I have imagined being where I am now and having the noteriety and impact that I do. Every time I see my name in a major magazine, newspaper, on TV or on the packaging of my eponymous skincare line (ROSE Ingleton MD) it fills me with so much pride. When I look at all the celebrities and people worldwide who know my name and proudly call me their doctor it warms my heart. I sometimes reflect on how much “balls” it took for me to start and build a successful dermatology practice from scratch in the heart of New York City. And how I blazed another trail by starting my own skincare line (rosemdskin.com) which is now available in major retail outlets like Sephora.com. All this while raising my two amazing sons into manhood and taking care of my elderly mother. Wow! Not bad for a little Jamaican girl from humble beginnings who had big dreams. Pinch me so I can confirm that this is real.