As we look back at the glorious year we have had, in this our Golden Anniversary as an independent nation, we're sharing the sheer pride and joy we experienced connecting the land of wood and water to successful Rock-linked Jamaicans the world over. SO connected the dots, and shares the best of our SO Who Knew? series.
Naomie Harris, actress, October 21, 2012
British actress Naomie Harris, the latest in the canon of Bond girls — playing agent Eve in the recently released Skyfall — is the daughter of Jamaican native Lisselle Kayla. Yes, the actress, who is a graduate of Cambridge University, and who has starred alongside A-listers Johnny Depp, Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell, has Jamaican blood coursing through her veins.
Daisy Fay Thomas-Bradshaw, operations manager — Betsey Johnson LLC, July 29, 2012
For our second SO Who Knew? feature we caught up with St Mary native Daisy Fay Thomas-Bradshaw, who had figured prominently in the abolition of the Apartheid System during her eight years spent working for the United Nations. The savvy accountant, whom we met five years ago at New York Fashion Week, worked for Shalor Designs Inc and labels Richard Malcolm and Anne Klein, ahead of being headhunted by the hairraising, cartwheeling Betsey Johnson more than 15 years ago. The BFFs have never looked back.
Terry Jacques, hairstylist, August 5, 2012
Terry Jacques is not only one of the top hairstylists in the UK, but he is also a judge of the British Hairdressing Awards, an inductee of the British Hairdressing Awards Hall of Fame, and most of all, he is a proud Jamaican. What's more, Jacques’ rise in the hairstyling biz began with styling mum Ivy Harriett's wigs.
Marc Hare, shoe designer, November 11, 2012
Brit Marc Hare, whose designs — Thelonius Monk, Sir Coxsone, King Tubby's, and Spector boots — are among the most sought-after footwear across the globe, is the son of a Jamaican. Our fondest moment with Hare came when he shared with SO, “... the memories of my Jamaican uncles, stopping the whole room dead with their style. My uncles taught me how to dress an outfit with a stunning pair of Brogues and silk socks.”
Sarita Choudury, actress, July 15, 2012
We were thrilled to bits to report that Sarita Choudury — a 2010 recipient of the Doctor Bird Award who logged screen time on the last season of the Emmy Award-winning Showtime drama Homeland — is, in fact, a daughter of The Rock, born to educators Prabhas and Julia Choudury who met and wed in Lucea, Hanover.
Shaun Bailey, politician, December 9, 2012
Shaun Bailey became the first-ever black political appointee to a prime minister from any political party, serving as the current Downing Street advisor to UK Prime Minister David Cameron. What we love, even more, is that Bailey proudly shares his Jamaican roots. In an exclusive interview with SO, the politico explained, “My connection to Jamaica is pretty straightforward. My family is Jamaican.” In fact, both his grandparents and parents trace their roots to The Rock. His mum, Carmen Rose, was born in Catadupa, St James, while dad, James Bailey, was born in Montego Bay.
Donna McConnell, showbiz editor at Mail Online, November 25, 2012
Donna McConnell is currently the showbiz editor of one of the largest online publications worldwide — Mail Online. Before her journey into journalism, she thrilled fans with classics like Give It A Rest and On Stage as a member of girl group She Rockers. With a visit to The Rock in the works for 2013, perhaps McConnell will make the trek to St Catherine, from which dad Donald hails, or Kingston 11, where her mum Thelma Hemley resided ahead of migrating to the UK.
Kerry Washington, actress, October 14, 2012
Hollywood can't seem to get enough of the drop dead gorgeous Kerry Washington, who has continued to send hearts racing in the ABC political drama Scandal — in which she plays the bold-faced, independent and tough-talking 'fixer' Olivia Pope. Thought-provoking drama aside, Washington has also featured in big screen films such as Mr & Mrs Smith, Ray and The Last King of Scotland. She is currently sharing screen time with Oscar winners Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio in the recently released film Django Unchained, and is a L'Oréal spokesperson. But what we love even more, was finding out that Washington traces her roots back to local soil. Her mum, Valerie, a professor and educational consultant, is Rock-born and boasted in a 2010 interview that her baking speciality is none other than Jamaican fruitcake.
Doña Croll, actress, August 12, 2012
While across the Pond capturing the fabulous social happenings surrounding this past Summer Olympics, we ran into one of London's most notable black actresses, Doña Croll, who was born in the quiet community of Party Hill, Hanover. Naturally, we sat down with Croll to learn more about her more-than-three-decades-long career, spanning 40 titles in film and Broadway.
Susan Rice, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, December 2, 2012
There are, we’re convinced, still major accomplishments in the works for Ambassador Susan E Rice, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, even though The Telegraph's prediction of her being the top candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t quite work out. Rice, who was lauded as 'extraordinary' by President Barack Obama, has her roots firmly planted in The Rock — her mother's parents are Jamaican emigrants who left the country in 1912 to live in Portland, Maine.
Pat McGrath, make-up artist and consultant, October 28, 2012
She is one of the most in-demand make-up artists, not just in the UK but around the world. And Pat McGrath has been a major factor in the development of some of the world's most glamorous and powerful make-up brands, including CoverGirl, Giorgio Armani and more recently Dolce & Gabbana. The go-to make-up artist is a favourite for Hollywood's elite — Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Scarlett Johansson, and Jennifer Aniston. She has done editorial with famed photographers like Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia and American Vogue and is continually breaking new ground. Our biggest thrill, that McGrath is of Jamaican descent. Indeed, she is the daughter of Jamaican-born emigrant Jean McGrath.