Wednesday, 27 March 2013

BEAUTY OF THE WEEK: Cathi Levy on managing her stress, growing things, and her proudest moments

STAYING POWER: "The reward is just icing on the cake." (Below, with Nikki Barbar at the Red Bones launch of Imagine)

You can't get Cathi Levy's brand of ageless beauty, but you can come dangerously close. Just follow her tried-and-proven formula for staying eternally fit, fabulous, and young at heart. "Manage your stress," she tells TALLAWAH, flipping back her long and lustrous mane to let out a hearty laugh. "I hand it all to the Father, and I keep on trusting that he will see me through." 

These days, stress management is certainly coming in handy for the legendary theatre maven and Miss Jamaica World 1983, as she gets set to debut her latest labour-of-love project, Imagine, a never-before-seen theatrical marvel that promises to dazzle and delight patrons when it opens in Kingston next month. Given her mile-a-minute stamina and huge workload (not to mention the decades she's already poured into Jamaica's performing-arts scene), we had to ask: How does she do it? 

TALLAWAH: Cathi, you continue to re-define what it means to put on show while pushing the limits and inspiring Jamaicans, young and old, along the way. What keeps you going? 
Levy: My love for the theatre. My love for working with young people. And there's so much that falls under the umbrella of theatre. It's about making an audience happy. Transporting them for the few hours that you're fortunate to have them. And making a difference in people's lives. When people see the production, their lives must be touched. That keeps me going. Also the support of team members, family and friends who always have your back. 

You've been a national beauty queen, performing-arts entrepreneur, activist, icon and inspiration. How do you feel about your life at this point? 
I'm incredibly humbled. And I'm especially proud of the accomplishments of the young people who have gone through Teen Players Club and the Cathi Levy Players. They continue to shine, and not only in the performing arts but in all aspects of life. And they make me proud, so that's definitely a huge accomplishment for me. At this stage, though, I enjoy sitting back and watching them do the work. (Laughs). 

So you're ready to take on a more behind-the-scenes kind of role, so to speak. 
I'm trying to. (Laughs). 
This past Monday, you were presented with a special lifetime achievement award by the International Theatre Institute (Jamaica Chapter). Were you thrilled, anxious, nervous about the huge moment? 
I was very humbled by that, and very deeply appreciative. As I said [at the awards], when you do what you love doing, to be rewarded for that is just icing on the cake. It's very special. 

What are your guilty pleasures? How does Cathi Levy unwind? 
I love growing things. I have a little farm right outside my house, and I grow vegetables and herbs, and that makes me happy. I also love rescuing animals.

>> Read more: Creative team and sponsors launch Imagine

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