SPOTTED!!! - Wendy Fitzwilliam

- attorney-at-law, host of CNTM, radio personality and Miss Universe 1998

Saturday, January 14, 2017

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Style Observer (SO): It’s a New Year, Wendy, "what’s on the immediate radar?

Wendy Fitzwilliam (WF): My first order of business is successfully broadcasting Season 3 of
CaribeNTM across the region on
FLOW ONE. The new season starts on Monday, January, 30, 2017 at 9:00 pm on Channel 100 here in Jamaica.

SO: Are there any lingering regrets from 2016?

WF: No regrets. Like every year, lessons learnt. 2016 seemed to have been the year of upheaval, disorder. I learnt to focus more sharply in 2016 and appreciate every interaction, to let go of my innate desire to be in control and really live in the moment. I had, too, many unexpected "lasts" in 2016. I hope this chaos is really a cleansing for the next chapter.

SO: The unity of the West Indies was one of the goals you promised to work for in 1998 when you were crowned Miss Universe. How has this initiative been going?

WF: Caribbean unity has been progressing, largely in starts and stops, but progressing. I’ve been very consistent in working towards this goal outside of the traditional channels of diplomacy and government. Those are important, too, but long-lasting change happens through a social and/or cultural shift and it is in this area that my work has been consistent and most effective. I do so largely through two initiatives at the moment, my social work with Shashamane Sunrise (Shash) and entertainment through
CaribeNTM and my radio show,
The Wendy Fitzwilliam Show. Shash is in Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica. It’s created by Jamaican Dr Rene Zazou Williamson (Dr Z), who is doing phenomenal work in education. I’ve been able to help Dr Z gain visibility and support for his work within the region and outside of the countries within which he operates. His use of young volunteers, and their exposure to life in countries outside of their own, goes a long way towards the inclusiveness and appreciation for each other that’s still in the early stages of development.

CaribeNTM more visibly achieves this by celebrating our young women from across the region, beyond the West Indies but the wider Caribbean.

SO: Has much changed in the Caribbean since then?

WF: In some ways we’re much more open to each other and enjoy each other’s cultures, such as the growth of T&T-style carnivals all over the region and the acceptance of dancehall in carnival celebrations at home; our love of each other’s athletes, even Grenadian and Trinidadian kids now "Jaminate", (as opposed to "dominate") any activity in which they excel. However, in business and commerce, we are still far behind. We squeeze the movement of ordinary people throughout the region. It’s easier for me, living in Trinidad, to order and receive my favourite swimsuit label at the moment from Israel than it is to get my favourite Jamaican or Barbadian designers. Largely, Trinis get massive heat for acquiring regional companies when our neighbours have no problem with Irish, English, Canadian or American acquisitions of homegrown businesses. I’d like to believe I’d be better off with a Jamaican owning Guardian Group or Caribbean Airlines than someone from outside of the region. I’d rather throw my support behind a fellow Caribbean corporation on its way up.

SO: Were you able to sit in a room with five Caribbean icons living or dead, who would they be, and why?

WF: It would be a dinner party with:

• Rihanna — for her cool, smarts, global appeal and a little entertainment;

• Owen Arthur — to develop the blueprint to get Caricom to the next phase of true political and commercial integration over a lovely meal prepared by him! He’s an excellent chef and down-to-earth, gracious host; he would be my co-host.

• Bob Marley — who so deeply understands humanity, he’d likely be able to make sense of the chaos of our times in the most relatable way and write the songs to gain regional acceptance of Owen Arthur’s plan and the execution thereof. Also, everyone on the planet would want to come to my dinner party...everyone!

• Fidel Castro — to learn how he accomplished so much national development with such limited resources, share them all with his neighbours so generously and why he held onto power for so long;

• Oscar de la Renta — He understood women so well, was himself elegance personified and would, hopefully, dress me, the host, and pair the wines with Owen Arthurs’ exquisite meal and ensure that the best rum cocktails are served before dinner.

• You said five, but my sixth and very special guest would be PJ Patterson, not for his politics or many accomplishments; just because I like him...a lot.

SO: In a world of ‘post-truth’, how can one be authentic?

WF: To maintain authenticity, simply do not accept or acknowledge that term and look at less mainstream American TV, whether it is via new media or traditional media. If I am compelled to tune in (as I was during the last US presidential election) I try to balance it with other perspectives, the BBC, Al Jazeera. And read, read researched, independent works, not only news.

SO: What’s your response to this name: Donald Trump?

WF: Surprise us, Mr Trump. I know you have it in you.

SO: What brings you to Jamaica this time around?

WF: Shashamane Sunrise and CaribeNTM! Shash is hosting its Jamaica benefit "Fashion Meets Music" this evening — Sunday, January 15, at Villa Ronai from 7:00 pm, and I am the host. I’ll also be visiting the schools with which Shash has partnered here in Jamaica, to meet the kids and review our programmes.

CaribeNTM launches on FLOW ONE on Monday January 30, 2017 at 9:00 pm, so I’m spreading the word! Jamaica is well-represented this season.

SO: What’s your packing routine like for Jamaica?

WF: Jamaica always means fabulous lounge wear and party outfits, swimsuits (one per day of my trip...even a business trip), linens for the weekends and cool dresses for the daytime, either jersey or crisp cottons and linens. I throw in a couple of tennis outfits and my racquet for a pickup game here and there with my girlfriend, Maureen Shaw (she would give Serena Williams a run for her money and me a good sweat...can’t beat her...yet). Always at least one dramatic evening look, because it’s Jamaica! You do dramatic, elegant evenings well. I always think I’ve packed too many shoes but they are never enough here. I use them all. I don’t walk with my skincare products from home because my first stop is always Jencare. I am a disciple of Jennifer Samuda and her wonderful line of Skincare products and her spa. At home I dutifully visit Jencare monthly, too.

SO: What’s your single imperative once you land on The Rock?

WF: Jencare, Jencare, Jencare...followed by maniacally Whatsapping my Jamaican crew for a little lime over a bottle or two of wine. Maureen and her friends Cecile, Ann, Donna, Annette and Kaili, Zarna, Eleanor (and when Ailan is with me, her kids Kennedy, Cole and Cameron). On this trip I am loving Uncorked.

SO: What are your three beauty essentials?

WF: 1.Water 2. Exercise and laughter and 3. Jencare skincare.

SO: Carnival is a mere month away. What are your plans?

WF: Party and play ‘Mas! I voluntarily missed 2016 for the first time in my life (Ailan wanted to go skiing) and the break was great for me. I’m now recharged and looking forward to J’Ouvert and Carnival Monday and Tuesday in my pretty costume...or two!

SO: Finally, were you able to sit in a terminal and choose anywhere in the world to go, where would it be and why?

WF: This week? New Zealand via Sydney, Australia. I have good friends in both places; I’ve never been, and this is the perfect time of year to be there. Ailan’s dream is to surf at Bondi Beach and I dream of being rescued by one of their lifeguards! Then New Zealand for a little outdoor adventure. My list of "things to do" in New Zealand would require another full page.



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