Saturday, 18 August 2018

@THE DISH: Alaine’s conversion + Alando Terrelonge’s call of duty + Suzette Barrett’s wedded bliss

>> Actress Suzette Barrett: Married, satisfied and looking smashing at 40-plus 
We caught up with award-winning character actress Suzette Barrett-Ennis at the theatre last week, and she doesn’t look a day over 30, even though, she told us, she’s now well into her 40s. “I don’t feel like I’m 46 at all. I feel much, much younger. Life has been good to me,” the veteran performer told @TheDish, looking like a million bucks in her fuchsia and peach ensemble with big, cascading diva curls. Married life suits her. Barrett-Ennis is faithfully mum on the details, but she revealed that she wed her longtime partner last June, and right now he’s channeling her energies into being a good and supportive wife. That’s why you haven’t seen her in a play in almost two years. “I’m focusing on my marriage, but I’m at home writing a lot as well. I started working on a play about my life story, and I’m hoping to get it on stage by the end of the year or early next year,” she shares. But as she awaits her next script and the next call from a director or producer, she’s busy lending her emceeing skills to a diverse array of events from Kingston to the North Coast.

>> In the Spirit: Songbird Alaine is a new creature in Christ  
Show of hands those who heard that Alaine Laughton got baptized recently? The ace singer-songwriter, now enjoying another season as “the nice judge” on Digicel Rising Stars (and a spot on our 25 Most Beautiful People List), became a new creature in Christ after making the trek over to Hellshire Beach one recent Saturday morning with Pastor Ryan Mark Reynolds of Pure Heart Ministries International. “All throughout my career I’ve been singing about love, whether it be brotherly or that of a man and woman. I’ve written songs about it, so now it’s about loving Jesus,” the songbird was later quoted as saying. “I’ve always loved God. I’ve always loved Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us. So it makes sense in my life to make a public declaration.”

>> Alando Terrelonge: ‘I love my job!’ 
We’ve always been huge fans of Alando Terrelonge and how he made that seamless transition from noted attorney-at-law to MP to junior minister for culture and sports – making his presence felt. “It has been great. I’m doing things that I actually love,” he told @TheDish when we caught up with him at the Independence Village recently. “I believe in the potential of sports and the creative industries to play a key role for national growth and development. I also believe in pushing sports tourism to be a great foreign exchange earner for the country. And as state minister, I also get to be part of a great team bringing exposure and change and support to Jamaica’s art forms.”

Friday, 17 August 2018

ISLAND SPICE: A Letter from the Editor

FACE VALUE: Fly girls like Yendi Phillipps and Sara Lawrence appear on this year's 'Beautiful' list.

AGAINST the backdrop of the #Jamaica56 celebrations, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to unveil our first-ever round-up of Jamaica’s 25 Most Beautiful People. The timing was perfect. Wading through a sea of names to make the final selections, we wanted to create a package that reflected the very best of who we are now – a mix of youth and ‘experience’, the old school and the exciting new generation.

We hope you like and are inspired by the choices.

And speaking of likeable people, this month we also celebrate the continued and evolving success of recording star, showbiz vet and family man Jeffrey ‘Agent Sasco’ Campbell who, in his first cover feature for TALLAWAH discusses the combination of elements that have him “winning right now” as his hit song boasts.

And if the early reviews and word-of-mouth are anything to go by, his new reggae-dancehall CD, Hope River (his fourth solo project, out Aug. 31) is another winner. Support a brother: pre-order your copy of Hope River here.

As the Jamaica Tallawahs go for the gold against their regional counterparts in this season’s CPL, and our triumphant athletes return to the island from the NACAC Championships in Toronto, we are reminded that, at 56, Jamaica is, indeed, overwhelmingly blessed. What an abundance of talented people and endless natural beauty!

HELLO, GORGEOUS: Jamaica’s 25 Most Beautiful People (The Women)

Who are Jamaica’s 15 most gorgeous women? By our standards (achievements, visibility, star power), any such list must include these divine sisters, island girls of all ages, who are making strides with style and grace. 

Designers love her, she’s a photographer’s dream, and she positively can do no wrong as she stares back at us from the catwalk, an editorial page or a glossy magazine cover. In other words, Tami epitomizes the ‘it factor.’ 

Trendsetter, fashionista, entrepreneur, supermom – Yendi still does it all with a fierce style-and-beauty game that’s ever on-point. 

This petite, fresh-faced powerhouse is not only making waves on the charts. Her edgy, keeping-it-real persona and crossover appeal continues to draw comparisons to the likes of Rihanna and Kat Deluna, as she earns her props and snags collaborations with such global superstars as Christina Aguilera. 

A style chameleon known for her versatile acting chops, Sharee has blossomed into a bonafide leading lady who serves way more than just great face when she hits centrestage. 
From state functions to semi-formal occasions marking her philanthropic efforts, Mrs. Vaz is a perennial head-turner and class act who, in our book, is a modern-day Emily Post. 

Easing into adulthood with the finesse of a pro, this charming chanteuse with the tight bod and silky voice has graduated from ‘tight-up skirts’ to more sophisticated looks befitting her star-on-the-rise status. 

With a sun-kissed radiance that lights up all her public appearances, this former Miss Jamaica and L’Oreal brand ambassador-turned-talk show host oozes an effortless glam that’s pure chocolate goodness. 

Having made a smooth transition to supermommy status, this golden girl continues to maintain an enviably taut and toned physique and a honey-dipped glow on and off the track. 
The beauty world was all abuzz when this leggy Clarendon bombshell and Afro sensation sashayed across the Miss Universe stage and walked away with a top-three finish. Since then, she’s secured her place on our must-watch list. 

Whether she’s lighting up the big screen (opposite Nick Cannon in King of the Dancehall) or bringing her irresistible charm to local TV commercials, Patterson is ever warm, classy and full-of-life. 

Heading into her mid-20s, Jackson seems to get more mesmerizing with each new stage and film role. Evidently, the best is yet to come from this future Leonie Forbes. 

With a voice that soothes and seduces, and a smile that’s nothing short of beguiling, Miss Laughton is gorgeousness personified, blessed with an illustrious career now spanning music, theatre and reality television.
Twenty-five years after copping the Miss World crown, the St. Ann MP, stylista, former Culture minister and bonafide tastemaker is the poster girl for looking fresh, fit and fabulous well into your forties. 

This Intensely pretty TV face is the kind of girl who can move effortlessly between the high-society social scene, hard-partying night-life, and carnival vibes without messing up her mascara. 

Beauty and brains and a regal aura is a winning combination for this Rastafarian empress, Heart Foundation ambassador and medical doc who consistently scores high marks in the style and beauty-with-a-purpose departments. 

THE HOTTIES: We see you too! 
Jodi ‘Jinx’ Henriques 
Yanique ‘Curvy Diva’ Barrett 
Kaci Fennell-Shirley 
Debbie Bissoon 
Gina Hargitay 

>> NEXT TIME: Jamaica’s 10 Most Gorgeous Men

SHOW GIRLS: Meet the beauties vying to be crowned Miss J’ca Universe and Miss J’ca World

>> THE grand coronation show to choose the winner of Miss Jamaica World 2018 has been scheduled for September 1 inside the ballroom of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. Sixteen girls, hailing from parishes across the island, have made the final cut: Lamise Hamilton (Miss Interlinc Communications), Kwela Cole (Miss Intranet Solutions), Lawna Jackson (Miss Cetamol Menstrual), Rushell Malcolm (Miss Puerto Seco Beach Club), Tamaya Henry (Miss Absolute New York), Jameillia Baimbridge (Miss Circles Logistics), Julia Lindo (Miss Charles Chocolates), Chanté Pitter (Miss Neutrogena), Catherine Harris (Miss ORS Olive Oil), Jana Hinds (Miss Mushroom Swimwear), Kadijah Robinson (Miss Fontana Pharmacy), Amaya Lewis (Miss Autocraze), Shanique Salmon (Miss Hilda’s Wine Jelly), Marishan O’Sullivan (Miss Perfectil), Drezel Deidra Simmonds (Miss Karen Booker Design Group) and Issia Thelwell (Miss Tropical Bliss).

>> TWENTY-four gorgeous girls will be bringing their A-game to the stage on the night of August 24, when the Island Energy Miss Universe Jamaica Beauty & Wellness pageant takes place at the Jamaica Pegasus. The finalists are: Jessica Jeffrey (Miss ORS Olive Oil), Annecia Morgan (Miss Tanya Hair Extensions), Denesha East (Miss Island Energy), Kadejah Anderson (Miss Mannequin Pieces), Daniellee Reddie (Miss Collie Law), Emily Maddison (Miss Heaven’s Fesco), Shanique Thompson (Miss Curves), Kayla Smith (Miss Chick N TrendE), Juven Dunn (Miss Eden Gardens), Tiffany Rattray (Miss Farm Price JA), Athavia Freckleton (Miss Ashley Furniture), Marie McKenzie (Miss D’Marie Institute), Lanae Gillette (Miss Vista Print), Italee Vinard (Miss RJR Group), Britany McKenzie (Miss Dunn’s River), Jodi-Ann Foster (Miss Loud Fashions), Racquel Service (Miss Enterprise Exotics), Ashly Thomas (Miss Dunn’s Hardware), Sara-Dee Palmer (Miss One Stop Computers), Ayanna Powell (Miss Triple Century), Laurie-Ann Campbell (Miss Dunn’s Fine Furniture), Bernadine Fraser (Miss All Signs), Chavelle Williams (Miss Aristo Lashes Beverly Hills) and Euricka Brown (Miss Royalton).

Thursday, 16 August 2018

CULTURE VULTURE: Denese Dacres Reeves wins Nurse of the Year + Sagicor selects 73 scholarship recipients + Martin Zsifkovics named Champion Farmer again

BEST IN THE FIELD: For the second consecutive year, Martin Zsifkovics has been named Jamaica’s Champion Farmer. The announcement came at the recent 66th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural & Industrial Show in Clarendon. Meanwhile, the trophy for Champion Woman Farmer went to Diandra Rowe and Nicholas Anderson was adjudged the Most Outstanding Young Farmer. The trophy for Champion Blue Mountain Farmer went to Ainsley Edwards, while Samantha Thomas-Myrie was crowned National Farm Queen. From August 4-6, farmers and other agri interests from across the island showcased their products at over 100 booths on the showgrounds. The final day of the agri-industrial show has become known as Prime Minister’s Day. “For too long we have seen agriculture as a pastime,” PM Andrew Holness said. “For too long we have seen it as more of something that Mass Joe does. Now, we have to see agriculture as business because agriculture is big business.”

HEALING HANDS: A manager at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Denese Dacres Reeves is the Lasco/NAJ Nurse of the Year for 2018/19. At the recent awards ceremony, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, Nurse Reeves received the champion trophy, a cash award of $350,000 and several other prizes. Desmond Campbell Jr, who attends UWI Mona, collected the award for Nursing Student of the Year. Current Chair of the Welfare Committee and co-chair of the Friends of the Bustamante Hospital Committee, Nurse Reeves said she finds the huge honour humbling. “I note from observation,” she says, “that being Nurse of the Year is a great honour as I am expected to be the face of all the nurses in Jamaica.” 

MONEY WELL SPENT: For the 2018-19 academic year, the Sagicor Foundation has awarded 73 scholarships, valued at $8.4 million. The funds will be disbursed to the beneficiaries who will be embarking on studies in September at secondary and tertiary institutions across Jamaica. The successful candidates were selected from over 1000 applications received.

INCREDIBLE LEGENDS: Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul makes his exit + Music icon Harry Belafonte to receive National Order of Merit

FINAL CHAPTER: Best known for such critically acclaimed efforts as A House for Mr. Biswas, The Mystic Masseur and A Bend in the River, Vidiar Surajprasad (V.S.) Naipaul wrote classic West Indian novels. The British-Trinidadian literary giant, whose other masterpieces include The Enigma of Arrival and In a Free State, passed away recently in the UK. He was 85 years old. Born in Trinidad in 1932 into an Indian family, Naipaul won a scholarship to study at Oxford University and went on to work for the BBC. For most of his life, he lived and worked in the UK. At age 30, he travelled to India, an experience that prompted him to write In a Free State, which won the 1971 Man Booker Prize. For Naipaul, the written word quickly became an indescribable joy. “Writing is the most important aspect of my life,” he once said. “Writing comes from the most secret recesses of the mind. There is no explanation. The explanation is the work itself.” Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1990, Naipaul was awarded the literary world’s highest honour, the Nobel Prize, in 2001. 

GETTING HIS DUE: Joining a rarefied group that includes Bob Marley, Miss Lou and Prof. Rex Nettleford, Harry Belafonte will be conferred with the Order of Merit (OM), Jamaica’s third highest honour, during the National Honours & Awards ceremony at King’s House in October. The global icon, whose work spans entertainment and activism, will be honoured for his eminent contribution to the field of music. Meanwhile, the Order of Jamaica (OJ), will be conferred on Earl Jarrett, Godfrey Dyer, Guisseppi Francesco Mattessanti and pop icon Grace Jones. For the Order of Distinction (in the rank of Commander), the honorees include Maxine Henry-Wilson, Jean Lowrie-Chin, Mayor Homer Davis, Mitsy Seaga and swimming sensation Alia Atkinson. In the rank of Officer, the OD will be presented to Joan Andrea Hutchinson, Bob Clarke, Yellow Man, Novelette Grant and Johnny Gourzong, among several others.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Actress Samantha Brevett credits her success to perseverance, maternal guidance and the power of visualization

COMING ON STRONG: Brevett (with costar David Tulloch) has always trusted her instincts.

THE most pivotal relationship a young woman will have in her lifetime is the one she shares with her mother. But more often than not that relationship takes on the characteristics of one of three types: best friends, business-like or bitter rivals. For Samantha Brevett, an actress looking to take her career beyond her wildest dreams, mommy has always been like a bosom buddy, the kind of parent who lovingly teaches, corrects and pushes you to be your best self.

“Me and my mom, Helen, are still very close and I think the advice she’s been giving me over the years made me who I am,” Brevett tells TALLAWAH, as the early lunch crowd gets seated inside New Kingston’s Burger King joint on this warm Tuesday afternoon. “She would tell you what not to do, but she also taught me a lot about etiquette, why you have to be respectful and how manners can take you very far. She is also very big on listening and the fact that there’s always a solution to every issue, so it’s best to stay calm, cool and collected.”

Today, those nuggets of wisdom are coming in handy as Brevett makes strides amidst a sea of constant challenges. What motivates her? “I try to self-motivate. I am very focused on what I’m doing. It’s like I have blinkers on,” she explains. Currently signed to the David Tulloch-led Probemaster Entertainment, which has cast her in such stage hits as Jamaica Sweeter, White Skin Black Heart, and Across the Bridge, Brevett is a firm believer in the power of visualization. “I like to use a vision board for what I’m working on. I paste stuff on it and use a timeline as I allow the results to manifest,” she says. “You envision it and watch as it comes to pass.”

Chances are she saw that the detailed work she put into her latest on-stage incarnation would draw not only strong audience reactions but also critical praise. In this month’s electric erotic drama Sugar Daddy, Brevett gives a commanding turn as Anita Leslie, a frustrated housewife who is hell-bent on divorcing George, her hubby of 25 years (played by Tulloch). Their marriage is such a disaster that a supersized ‘toy’ has become Anita’s best friend.

By Brevett’s own admission, playing this angry middle-aged woman forces her to cross certain psychological boundaries. “With this character, making the transition was like a mental shift. You have to hold it together because you go over that threshold every night that you’re on stage,” she says. “I really wanted to give it my all to reach people who are going through something similar. It’s a very rough situation to be in, but people are actually living this life.”

Now in her mid-20s, life has been a mixed bag for Brevett whose folks (with the exception of mom and dad) live overseas. Plump and blessed with gorgeous chocolate skin, she has her serious moments but she doesn’t take herself too seriously. In conversation, she chuckles and, occasionally, becomes deeply introspective. When it comes to dealing with frustrating personal matters, she takes a slightly different approach from Anita. “I will talk to the other person about it or I isolate myself and basically just vent. That’s how I deal with my issues,” she explains. “And if it starts getting physical I just walk away.”

Prior to joining Probemaster, Brevett (a Vauxhall High alum) was a member of the Ashé troupe for eight years. Thanks to a half scholarship, she started a college degree programme in the States but had to walk away from it for several reasons. “I felt really sad about it because it was something I really wanted to do,” she says, the disappointment etched on her face. “But I do plan to complete a degree programme in the near future.”

What else does she see ahead of her? Many more meaty and gratifying stage roles, a foray into the film world and, who knows, she might finally meet her match. “I don’t see my ideal person yet,” says the happily single actress, a huge fan of Tyler Perry’s work, the beach and spending time with colleagues in her inner circle.

Confident in her abilities and sure of what she wants, Brevett is simply keeping her eyes on the prize. “I feel there’s so much more to come; more than what is on my vision board,” she declares. “As soon as I finish one thing I try to venture into something new and allow it to channel its way.” Still making mommy proud.