In residence with Marie Guerlain

Sunday, February 24, 2013

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SO enjoys a day at Hanover Grange, Tryall Country Club, with Marie Guerlain, a descendant of the legendary perfume and cosmetics dynasty. Eschew all notions of potions and sweet-smelling testers — Guerlain is here on her first visit to Jamaica, having been dutifully instructed by Theresa Roberts to soak up art, culture, lots of jerked chicken, and to thereafter spread the word.

We're thrilled to report that her expectations have been exceeded: "The beauty of this country has taken my breath away, and the people are so welcoming and kind". The beauty heiress, artist and humanitarian is, however, no stranger to the region: "I have been to Barbados, the Bahamas and the Grenadines. I love the Caribbean."

Jamaica has now been added to her Caribbean experience.

SO: How are you enjoying our food thus far?

Marie Guerlain (MG): I love the food here. My favourite is jerked chicken. I have always loved it, and it reminds me of the good times at the Notting Hill Carnival in London.

SO: Hanover Grange has been described as "Theresa Roberts' homage to her ancestral art". Have you had the opportunity to discuss Jamaican art with her? What are your thoughts?

(MG): We do discuss art together at great length. As an artist myself, I really appreciate the talent in this country and how the artists need to be nurtured and promoted. Theresa is doing an amazing job with this.

SO: Was Caribbean/Jamaican art on your radar before meeting Theresa?

MG:Not as much as when I learnt it from Theresa.

SO: How difficult has it been for you, a descendant of a legendary perfume cosmetics dynasty, to carve out a niche for yourself on the art scene?

MG: Just like any artistic profession it has had its challenges, and there are certainly no special favours due to my background. I wouldn't want it to be any other way. Nothing is gratifying without hard work.

SO: You consider Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse personal heroes, why?

MG: Because I can relate to their work and the emotions conveyed. Their use of colour, movement and style have greatly inspired me over the years.

SO: Tell us too, about the recent admiration for the art of Yoko Ono, Gavin Turk and Sonia Falcone

MG: Their works again convey stories and deep emotional turmoil. Conceptual art is a different way of expression, and I find it as equally fascinating as a painting.

SO: You attended the Sugar Cane Ball Saturday evening — Hanover Charities Annual Fund-raising Event. How did you enjoy it?

MG: It was fabulous fun for such a great cause. It was a wonderful way to start our holiday in Jamaica.

SO: You are a serious philanthropist and involved in Innocence In Danger (IID) — to combat sexual abuse of children. How did you get involved in this?

MG: I am no longer with IID, but have recently been appointed Patron of the Marie Collins Foundation, which deals with the same subject matter. I became involved because I have always felt passionate about children's rights and injustice towards them. No one has the right to harm a child. This is why I do what I do, because the thought of a child suffering in this way deeply upsets me.

SO: As a mother, do you think we need to be much stricter in terms of what we expose our children to?

MG: Yes, I think we all need to be more aware. Sadly, we live in a world where children are exposed to much more at an early age due to the Internet, social media. Parents need to be vigilant and to talk to their children about the dangers they may face . Communication with your child is so important.

SO: What kind of conversation do you reckon we'll be having five years from now?

MG: Hopefully we will be discussing many stories on fun times in Jamaica, as I intend to come back very soon.


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