Cocktails With - Shauna Chin
We recently caught up with the delightful Shauna Chin — a Jamaican-born, Hollywood-based critical care nurse-turned-actress, model and humanitarian — at the Grand Palladium resort. The exotic beauty is as focused as she's fun, and quite the intellectual. She's also the face and spokesperson of NAJASO (National Association of Jamaican & Supportive Organisations), a breast cancer awareness advocate, Vivica A Fox's BFF, and a guest judge on the inaugural season of Caribbean's Next Top Model. "My life is a whirlwind," she explains, as she pauses to share cocktails with us...
What are you sipping?
I'm having a glass of Champagne right now, but water or coconut water are usually my drinks of choice.
Jeans or LBD?
Definitely jeans (laughs).
Flats or stilettos?
I used to wear flats all the time, as I was very insecure about my height and I hated being taller than all the boys. That's never cool (laughs), but now that I'm a model and actress, I've learnt to embrace it, so I wear more heels (smiles).
What's your must-have accessory?
My phone. I cannot live without it... I'm always on it (laughs).
What's in your car stereo/ on your iPod?
Reggae. I like all kinds of music, even opera. I like it a lot, and it's very electrifying, but reggae is my number one.
Where do you go when you need to unwind?
I love being at home, that's when I'm at my best. No dresses, no make-up (I'm a tomboy at heart). I like to relax, curl up with a good book and spend time with my family and friends. It's a very good feeling to not be 'on' all the time.
What's your idea of the perfect man?
I really don't have a specific type. If you're able to attract me with your personality, it makes me want to get to know you better, and from there, it becomes a matter of whether or not we are compatible. It's not about his looks. He has to be articulate, and flexible enough to meet, say, Nelson Mandela with me, and sing along to Mavado with my friends and I in another setting.
What's your idea of the perfect date?
I once took a guy on my perfect date... to a bookstore. He was so bored! (laughs) But, honestly, curled up on my couch with my throw. Reading, watching TV, connecting with each other and enjoying a relaxing evening. There's no need to wow me with material things.
How did you make the career switch from a nurse to an actress?
(Laughs) It's a funny story, actually. I was in the military for eight years, where I was trained to be a registered nurse. After practising for a while I decided it was time for growth, and looked into medical school, but I felt like I've been learning since I was two years old, so I was yearning for change. I decided to take at least a one-year break to do something exciting, and that's when I moved to California. While there I attended a celebrity party and everyone assumed I was an actress. I met some people there who encouraged me, and I got training at ACP in North Hollywood, and now I'm an actress (smiles). Acting is an ongoing process, you're always learning, going to workshops etc, but I love it.
And how has your friendship with Vivica A Fox influenced this transition?
She's adorable; she is key in a lot of aspects of my craft. Being around her and her marketer Darren Bond, who is now like my brother, has definitely helped a lot. Vivica is pretty adept at brand marketing, so I've learnt that it's not just about being in front of the camera, but also about marketing yourself as a brand. Being able to watch how she operates has been a blessing, and I hope to make her proud (smiles). The three of us now are like a family, we do everything together.
Which actress or actor would you say is your role model?
I really admire Angelina Jolie, because she balances being a successful actress, mother and humanitarian really well. I believe her values are similar to mine, and I would love to work with her; she's very talented.
What has been your favourite role to date?
I enjoyed playing Claudine on The Blackburns. It's the first role where I had a chance to really show my range. She's a virgin up against Richard Blackburn, a seasoned 'playa'. It's a very interesting role.
What's the best piece of advice you've received?
As long as you stay prepared, when opportunities arise, you'll always be in a position to make the most of it. That was from my dear friend, Vivica A Fox.
What projects are you currently working on, besides The Blackburns of Royal Palm Estate?
I'm playing an assassin in the upcoming film Spychosis starring Tom Arnold. Jamie Lee Curtis, Sharon Stone, and quite a few major actors have come on board. It's a star-studded cast, and I'm so honoured to be a part of it as it's my first major project. Also, I've just finished filming an independent movie called Choices, plus the first season of Caribbean's Next Top Model. I'm also very passionate about breast cancer as I recently lost a friend to it, so I'm launching an awareness campaign soon.
And 10 years from now?
For me it's about growth, so I'm laying the groundwork now for my next 10 years. Not necessarily in front of the camera, but as a writer and director, which I have already started doing for the next season of The Blackburns. I'm very excited about my next 10 years.