JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The name Dafina is of the African origin, meaning “hidden treasure or unexpected present” and that is who Dafina Skinner-Armstrong is to the world.

“I am multi-faceted. I’m an artist. I do acrylic on canvas, and I do abstract art. I play the saxophone. I do African dance. I’m a nurse. I’m a mother. I’m a wife and a friend.”

She was originally born in New York and later moved to Jackson with her mother. She attended what is now Obama Magnet School then Jim Hill High School maintaining a 4.0 or higher GPA.

She went on received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Duke University, and life was normal for her, only until it wasn’t.

“Unfortunately, at the age of 25, I had a pulmonary embolism which is a blood clot that traveled from my calf to my lungs and almost killed me. It just caused me to refocus on life, redirect some of the things that I had aspirations to do. I graduated from Duke and then went to law school.”

But she didn’t feel like this was her niche in life.

“When I had the pulmonary embolism, I just reassessed everything. I became the patient, so I got to see healthcare from the other side. Through that, it was determined that I wanted to go to nursing school.”

For years her grandmother, who was also a nurse, told her she had a nurse’s touch.

From knowledge gained at Hinds Community College, Skinner-Armstrong was able to go on to receive her master’s, leading her to become a family nurse practitioner.

“Being a family nurse practitioner would place me at that point that I could extend healthcare as a provider on that side, but still have the caring side as a registered nurse.”

Like many people, COVID-19 changed things in her life but also provided an unexpected opportunity.

“I continued to cook and bake and post things on social media. Well, one cake that I posted went viral and requests started my business. I made a turtle cake, and from there, it was 30 cakes a day. From there, it was 60 cakes in a week. From there, it was 150 cakes in a week, and it just kept growing and going and going. There was so much business, I couldn’t keep up with it. So, Dah’s Essential Eats and Cakes, LLC was born from there.”

The myriad of culture and experience from her family plays a huge role in her business, which she prides herself for the name of.

“Dah– which is my nickname- Essential Eats and Cakes. The essential part is from me being an essential worker.”

She also gives to the homeless, but she chooses not to broadcast it out of respect for those going through a tough time.

Skinner-Armstrong said nursing is and always will be her passion. She will remain a family nurse practitioner, but you can be on the lookout for a brick and mortar for Dah’s Essential Eats and Cakes, LLC in the future.