PEMBERTON IS one of those women with a perma-grin: She loves her job as a JetBlue flight attendant; feels at peace in Florida, where she lives; adores her new boyfriend; and looks forward to the future. Yet life for this native of Vancouver wasn’t always so sunny. At 33, she gave up her job in programming at Bravo! Canada to marry and move for her husband’s career, first to Toronto, then later to New York. The moves, which required parting from her friends, family and job, left her feeling empty. “I stopped growing and lost my identity,” she says. “Looking back, I feel bad because I don’t think my husband ever knew the real me.” The couple divorced five years later. Single and staring down 40, Pemberton answered an ad to be a JetBlue flight attendant. Wanting to leave New York and its memories—and head somewhere warm (“My family is originally from the West Indies, and I’m drawn to water and warm weather”)—Pemberton moved to Atlanta, then to Fort Lauderdale. “Once I arrived in Florida, I started a period I call ‘the rebirth of a goddess.’ ”
First on the reinvention agenda: cutting her hair. “I had dreadlocks and was tired of all the maintenance,” she says. So she chopped—and discovered how much her new look played up her big eyes and glowing skin. Next, she adjusted her attitude. “I began looking at myself in the mirror and saying how wonderful I was . . . until I believed it,” she wrote in her Beauty Search entry. That positivity opened up her life to new friends, adventures—and a new boyfriend, Na’im, whom she met online. “I didn’t even have a profile on the dating site,” she says. “I was scrolling through the pages, and I saw this great smile and gorgeous teeth. I felt like he was smiling right at me.” When the couple met, the chemistry was obvious: “He treats me like a queen.”
How she looks so good
Pemberton is devoted to Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($8; drugstores) and moisturizes, neck to toe, with extra-virgin olive oil. “I also drink tons of water and have a good dentist who whitens my teeth regularly,” she says. Pemberton hates gyms but does work out to DVDs like Turbo Jam and Hip Hop Abs ($20, $60; beachbody.com), which fit easily into her carry-on and can be done in any hotel room when she’s on the road with JetBlue.