30Fresh Aces: Paula Aio

Each week during 

30Fresh

, I'll introduce you to a couple of incredible people whose soul, energy, humor, talent, intellect and dreams light up my life. I think the world of them and hope you do too!

On this last day of 30Fresh, it's my pleasure to introduce you to my best friend of 16+ years,

Paula Aio

!

Paula-Aio-Jess-Estrada
Paula-Aio-Jess-Estrada

Paula and I met in 8th grade P.E. class back in good old Kent. We figured out right away it was more fun talking to each other and dancing to songs like

Bell Biv Devoe's 'Poison'

while standing in line waiting to play soccer and running a mile than it was to deal with the awkwardness of junior high alone. We were talking just the other day about how the group of friends we rolled with in junior and high school were so much fun and yet somehow we stayed away from career-ending poor decisions youngsters sometimes get into. LOL!

Paula's stuck by me throughout college, our shared time working at

Niketown

with the coolest coworkers in the world, and this crazy career of mine. We have a lot in common, but music is by far our strongest bond. To be honest, I'm not sure why she hangs out with me because her music tastes are way more diverse and classy than mine. I mean, I can never have enough Gucci Mane. But this isn't about me. I can say with full certainty that Paula is one of the nicest people walking this fine planet, with the biggest heart to boot. In high school, she won Best Dancer senior year. That's why it's no surprise she's now a

Zumba

teacher whose classes are rich with salsa, merengue, cumbia, hula, hip-hop and maybe even a little bit of twerkin' too. Whenever I take one of Paula's Zumba classes, my heart swells with pride because it's clear she's in her element - and her students totally respond to her amazing energy. They are diehards for her class, dressing up in tutus and all! I feel like the world is just seeing what Paula is capable of, including Paula herself. I'm excited and a little scared for y'all now that Romy and Michele (one of our favorite movies next to The Count of Monte Cristo & Lilo & Stitch) have approached their 30s! Now that we have a better grip on ourselves, this decade's 'bout to ROCK.

WE JUST GETTIN STARTED Y'ALL!

Paula decided a video was the best way to answer her interview questions. Enjoy :)

Thank you!

30Fresh

30 days of posts celebrating 30 years - and 5 of Fresh Jess!