London-Rock Connection

Sunday, February 05, 2012

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The Rock continues to feature prominently in the black books of the global cognoscenti, with the cashmere-chic Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Hanover, where designer Stella McCartney enjoyed idyllic summers with her mum Linda and father Paul, and the über-fab GoldenEye in St Mary, which Ian Fleming once called home and where his imagination gave birth to the blockbuster James Bond series.

SO highlights a few of the Brits, who with connections to The Rock, have influenced the world.

Alexandra Chong

The daughter of a Chinese-Jamaican father and a Canadian mother, Chong spent her formative years in Ocho Rios, where she showcased her athletic talents by representing The Rock on the world tennis scene as part of the Jamaican Olympic team. She also played in the Federation Cup and the Central American & Caribbean Games. Today Chong is the Founder and CEO Luluvise Limited, a social and communications platform that, in December, launched — a social and communications platform dedicated to young women and their gal pals, which has had quite the media buzz in recent weeks. Chong shared with us over cocktails why she is so proud to be Jamaican. "Jamaicans are inherently entrepreneurial; they're smart and they are fighters. We have the best athletes, the best musicians, and I'm so proud to come from paradise. For a little island, we certainly have a lot of world-class products to be proud of." There's no arguing that point.

Richard Branson

Branson's connections to The Rock are manifold, considering his business interests (Virgin Atlantic airline), local-based philanthropic ventures (the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship), and celeb endorsers for his brand (Usain Bolt).

Keith Richards

A regular denizen of The Rock, the British rocker and member of The Rolling Stones has high praises for local reggae music. There is, too, the inspiration he receives from the culture and creativity of our people. So much so that over the last three decades his children have had many stays in Steer Town, St Ann, close to where Richards resides when on our shores. He has worked with iconic music producer Christopher Blackwell on the album Wingless Angels I, which featured a group of five Nyabinghi Rastafarian drummers and their sister Maureen. The name 'Wingless Angels' came about as Richards explained, "They sing like angels, but they can't fly."


The always musically relevant Sade is hailed as the most successful solo female artiste in British history, selling over 110 million albums worldwide since launching her music career in 1984. Her connection to The Rock comes from her once-former frequent vacays here (before an alleged altercation with a policeman left her with an outstanding court appearance). The Grammy Award-winning singer is also mother to a daughter Ila Adu, who she bore for a Jamaican musician.

Sarah Ferguson

There's never a dull moment with Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, at least, not from what we grasp in the media. The multi-hyphenate Ferguson — author, director, philanthropist — has done it all: marrying into the royal family, divorcing, being embroiled in media scandals and going on a journey to rediscover herself. No wonder, then, that when she wants to escape it all, she jets in for a relaxing stay at the Round Hill Hotel and Villas. The Duchess spent her Christmas holidays on The Rock.

Theo Walcott

The speedy striker who plies his trade at Arsenal Football Club and the England national team was born of a Jamaican father and English mother. He became, at the age of 17 years, England's youngest ever senior football player when he was bought from Southampton in 2006 by Arsenal at a transfer fee of £5 million. Outside of football, Walcott currently has four published books: TJ and the Hat-Trick, TJ and the Penalty, TJ and the Winning Goal and TJ and the Cup Run.

Ashley Young

Ashley Young, the ace winger for Manchester United, is one of the highest paid stars in the English Premier League. The star athlete, acquired for a £16-million transfer fee from Aston Villa, is the child of a Jamaican-born father and English mother.

Kate Moss

Dodging the paparazzi, storming the runways in haute couture and headlining the next big ad campaign are but a few items on supermodel Kate Moss' daily to-do list. But when she's not on the work grind, she can be found chilling at the serene, luxurious retreat of Jamaica Inn and/or GoldenEye Hotel and Resort, in Oracabessa. The blonde bombshell, who is a fixture on the social scene, was among the celebs who rang in the new year on The Rock, with guitarist husband Jamie Hince. She has, too, jetted in on the hunt for a home with actress gal pal Sadie Frost. Here's to many more visits to our shores.

Gordon 'Sting' Sumner

Multi-award winning Brit icon Sting was so captivated by the exquisite allure and privacy that comes with GoldenEye Hotel and Resort that he was inspired to pen the hit Every Breath You Take with his band The Police, while on vacation.

Naomi Campbell

Fierce and fabulous, Naomi Campbell is one of the most revered supermodels of all time and still holds her own in the fashion industry. With a career-spanning two decades, the celebrated diva of Jamaican ancestry has invested in real estate on The Rock, with her three-bedroom oceanfront villa in Oracabessa featured on the MTV show Cribs back in 2003. Campbell is currently fronting the PINKO 2012 S/S campaign.

Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris — who's set to join the celluloid canon of Bond women with a starring role in this November's new 007 film Skyfall — is a fast-rising actress in Hollywood who has shared screen time with Johnny Depp, Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell. The Brit-born actress is the daughter of Lisselle Kayla, a sitcom writer who emigrated to England from Jamaica.

Lennox Lewis

Superstar pugilist Lennox Lewis, born in London in 1965 to Jamaican parents, won the world heavyweight boxing champ title three times. The multimillionaire, who is married to Rock-born Violet Chang, calls the Tryall Club, Hanover, home and is happy to raise his children on The Rock.

Zadie Smith

Upon the release of her best-selling novel White Teeth in 2000, British novelist Zadie Smith — born to a Jamaican mother and British father — was heralded as one of the finest writing talents of her generation by the literary world. The novel won the Commonwealth Writers' First Prize, The Guardian First Book Award and was listed by Time Magazine as among the 100 Best English Language novels from 1923 to 2005.

Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney has been hailed as one of the most successful entertainers of all time. Think: a member of legendary band The Beatles, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and holder of several thousand copyrights that have spanned a career entering its fiftieth year. Also, he is a multiple inductee into the Guinness Book of World Records. When McCartney yearns for some privacy and relaxation, he makes it Round Hill Hotel and Villas. What's more, he and businesswoman wife Nancy Shevell (also a great fan of Round Hill) rang in the new year on The Rock.

Stella McCartney

Stella is a bonafide Rock vacationer from her days as a tot, whenever dad Paul McCartney jetted in for a tropical getaway. Among the influential fashion designer's many Rock experiences are trips to the craft market as a child and soaking up the island's contagious culture.

Princess Anne

Daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne is well known for her charitable work. During her visit in 2005, she toured parts of Spanish Town, St Catherine, Kingston, and journeyed to St Thomas for the 50th anniversary rededication and celebrations of the Princess Margaret Hospital. Princess Anne is due to make another visit to The Rock in June.



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