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The Next Wave

Sunday, January 08, 2017


SO presents its annual Ones To Watch Issue of those we predict, by this time next year, will either have become household names or would have added another meaningful chapter to their storied lives. We go around The Rock (and further afield) with 32 names!

PHOTOS: OBSERVER FILE PHOTOS & SOURCED

Krystal Chong,

author, What The Hell Am I Supposed To Do With My Life?!

Article continues below...


This was the year that Krystal Chong, the former chief marketing officer of Honey Bun Ltd, effectively crossed over from the financial world into the arts, with the publication of her memoir What The Hell Am I Supposed To Do With My Life?! In true Krystal Chong form, the book is a breezy romp, written in an Eat-Pray-Love style and giving readers a fly-on-the-wall vantage point as they witness her personal journey of self-exploration as she gives up the comfort and security of a popular Jamaican family business for a life on the edge, in the name of discovering her true purpose-filled self. This book and its irrepressible author are sure to make a lot of noise in 2017.

Nicole Dennis-Benn,

author, Here Comes the Sun

A few years ago, Jamaican-born Nicole Dennis-Benn made headlines when she married her female partner at a resort here. This year, she made headlines of a different nature with her well-received first novel, Here Comes the Sun, which has been receiving worldwide attention and accolades for the exploration of trenchant themes affecting Caribbean people, running the gamut of sexuality, exploitation of women and oppression. The book is set in an opulent resort in Montego Bay, where the protagonist Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot wants to shield Thandi, but when plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. The book landed on the New York Times’ Notable 100 Books of 2016, catapulting Dennis-Benn into the big league. We will be hearing much more from her in the coming year.

Parisa Fitz-Henley

model/actress

Fitz-Henley — a graduate of St Andrew High and former Pulse model-turned-Hollywood thespian — is set to grace TV screens this year in NBC’s hotly anticipated drama, Midnight Texas, based on a series of books from Charlaine Harris (yes, the same author who gave us the late HBO series True Blood). Could Fitz-Henley be part of TV’s next major buzzworthy show?

Gordon Swaby & Kirk-Anthony Hamilton,

entrepreneurs

Their eyes trained on making entrepreneurial success second nature, EduFocal CEO/Founder Gordon Swaby (left) and The Infiniti Partnership CEO Kirk-Anthony Hamilton are individually looking to make even bigger moves in the next 12 months. Swaby’s eduational online platform, EduFocal, hailed as a ‘digital disruptor’ by BBC News last year, is expanding its reach beyond Jamaica while Hamilton’s branded lifestyle summit Destination Experience, spotlighted by Forbes magazine in 2016, is going for another annual round of converging high network individuals with business possibilities. Save The Date: The Destination Experience Visionaries’ Summit, January 26-28, Kingston, Jamaica.

Dr Peter Phillips,

president-elect, People’s National Party

What will be the first order of business for the new Opposition leader? The unification of the People’s National Party? Rebuilding its morale and collective IQ? Moving house from its Old Hope Road headquarters? Or perhaps even a colour change... but, then again, isn’t orange the new black? These and other burning questions...

Ready TV’s Christopher Dehring & Shaggy,

entrepreneurs

Take one financial whiz and one mega-selling music artiste, mix in a lower-cost model for broadband and cable access, and voila! Ready TV is angling to be the business startup making serious bank.

Cecile Emeke,

film-maker, writer & artist

Documenting the black experience in the United Kingdom, Jamaica and mainland Europe, the Strolling auteur adds historical and cultural dimension to present-day lives. Emeke also flips this through her comedic endeavours in fictional short film and web series such as Ackee & Saltfish. Get to know the film-maker better on Pages 10-11.

Ann-Marie Vaz,

philanthropist

The political arena on the Rock may need to make space for another beauty as there is an aggressive rumour of philanthropist and socialite Ann-Marie Vaz joining her member of parliament hubby Daryl to enter representational politics.

Marisa Benain,

NDTC principal dancer & attorney-at-law

The PLIÃ for the Arts president has her eye on culture, starting with her extending an invitation to the Desmond Richardson-led Complexions Contemporary Ballet out of New York City, to perform on The Rock, which has been backed by the United States Embassy in Kingston. But wait, there’s more, movement enthusiasts can expect dancer and choreographer-conducted workshops, seminars, and summer internship scholarships as the varied by-products of this artistic invasion.

Karen Clarke,

event planner

The Jamaican Grammys — the Youth View Awards — is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary. How will founder Karen Clarke, CEO of An Elegant Affair, mark the milestone? We await the announcement of the 2017 staging’s guest performer as that will begin to tell the tale.

Dr Patricia Yap,

dermatologist & cosmetic entrepreneur

The good doc has created a local skincare line — with a factory to boot, that’s what you call from poverty to prosperity — available at a pharmacy and make-up counter near you. Let Dr Yap be the troubleshooter of your epidermis as she gives new reason to pause in the mirror. Plus, listen keenly for the Caricom invasion.

Brian Lumley,

chef & restaurateur

The closing scenes of Brian Lumley’s Arabian Nights sojourn in the luxury hotbed of the Middle East have us tapping our chins as to what’s next for the chef and restaurateur. With the world as his oyster, his next posting could very well be anywhere. Is there a reality series competition in Lumley’s future à la Gordon Ramsay?

Kevin Hendrickson,

hotelier

The shuttered shell of the Wyndham Hotel continues to pique interest and solicit intrigue, especially now that all its tenants have vacated such premises, and the edifice remains highly visible along Knutsford Boulevard. Its quietly confident owner, hotelier Kevin Hendrickson has something up his sleeve we’re sure, and 2017 may just be the year we get a whiff of a new chapter.

Michael Subratie,

distributor/manufacturer & dean, consular corps

With his new appointment and knowledge of the society scene, The Rock will get the opportunity to show expats the virtues of Jamaican hospitality and slices of the good life amid the vibrant colour of our tropical paradise. Subratie’s first order of business: A banquet on Friday, January 13 to honour former PM of Jamaica Edward Seaga.

Allison Harrison,

film-maker

Described as a video, motion picture and entertainment company, the Allison Harrison-led Factory 75 remains conscious of representation and equality as it showcases Rock talent and storytelling.

Lisa Hanna,

politico

The politico made a play for the up-for-grabs deputy leadership of the People’s National Party and lost. She also got engaged to her longtime businessman beau Richard Lake. 2017 has had a quiet start thus far, where will Hanna’s focus turn as she juggles her work-life? Naturally, we wait with bated breath for the walk up the aisle.

Andrew Bellamy & Kamal Bankay,

politicos/promoters

With the younger end of The Rock’s voting demographic often accused of political apathy, party promoters and businessmen Andrew Bellamy (left) and Kamal Bankay — also a deejay — have emerged to shake off that stereotype with ascensions as councillor and board chairman within the Holness administration.

Clement ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence & Jean-Philippe Beyer,

manufacturers/distributors

J Wray & Nephew has seen internal corporate restructure and a decline in event sponsorship. Will 2017 be the year its new chairman Lawrence and managing director Beyer reveal the behind-the-scenes strategy of a new way forward?

Grace Wales Bonner,

fashion designer

The talented progeny of a British mom and Jamaican father, Grace Wales Bonner emerged from international obscurity to cop the 2016 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, last June. The eponymous menswear label Wales Bonner is expected to continue its examination of masculinity through a prism of femininity and androgyny, in the coming year.

Selah & Zuri Marley,

model and musician, respectively

The next generation of the Marley clan are growing up fast and taking advantage of the platform laid by their reggae icon grand-dad, the late Bob Marley. The feminine side of that legacy is being led by model Selah (left) and musician Zuri. Let’s see what this year holds as these young ladies pursue their own imprints.

Savannah Baker,

creative director, photographer & stylist

This curly-haired creative director, stylist and photographer has narrowed her expertise in advocating for the rights of The Rock’s transgendered through visual treatments such as music videos, and continues to support and celebrate Jamaica through authentic aesthetics.

Ruth Hussey,

boutique hotelier

Terra Nova’s founder Ruth Hussey emerged from retirement last year to take back the day-to-day reins of her Waterloo Road property, after its former general manager, her daughter Michelle, wed and migrated to the Irish isles. Hussey’s reappearance in the driver’s seat proves yet again that age is just a number and that mother knows best.

Philipp Hofer,

hotel executive

Through a fine dining party, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts seeks to introduce gourmet chefs to its international properties with its chef on tour series. Of course, The Rock falls into Iberostar’s regional jewels and saw, most recent, the visit of Michelin star culinary artist Fernando Arellano at the Grand in Rose Hall, last year. This weekend, the tour returns to our shores and regional director of operations Philipp Hofer will resume hosting duties on the Spanish hospitality chain’s behalf.

Euhon Darling, architect & developer

The systematic facelift of its service stations and Bonjour convenience stores across the island has revealed Texaco’s interest in rebranding and its confidence in architect Euhon Darling as the man to take the petroleum brand into a sleek and modern era.

The Jamaican dollar, long-suffering currency

Will stability continue to elude the struggling dollar? Find out on the 2017 episode arc of The Struggle is Real.

Michelle (left) & Suzanne Rousseau, co-authors of Caribbean Potluck

For more than 20 years, sisters Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau have built a signature lifestyle brand telling authentic stories about Caribbean food and culture to a global marketplace.

In 2016 they brought their charm and audacious humour to the Travel Channel in the pilot, Island Hopping and 2017 looks even more interesting. With consulting and event projects that focus on repositioning our cuisine, we can’t wait to see how the women further parlay their impeccable instincts about the cultural experiences global audiences crave. Word is that we can even look forward to a follow-up book to their love letter to island cuisine, Caribbean Potluck.

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