Top 10: Laura Dowrich-Phillips the Editorial Ambassador of Caribbean Life

Laura Dowrich-Phillips, the self proclaimed “Editorial Ambassador of Caribbean Life” is everywhere. At a fashion event? She’s there. Inside a fete? She’s there. St Lucia Jazz Festival? Yep … there, too. I first meet her several years ago (can’t even recall exactly where and when) and instantly liked her. Her wit makes me smile and envious at the same time. Why can’t I be that cool? If it weren’t for her active social media accounts I would never know what’s really happening in T&T while I’ve gone “foreign.”

A media heavyweight in Trinidad & Tobago, Laura always demonstrates perfect balance of professional and personal. I thought it was about time she be on the other side of an interview.

  1. You’re very well liked and respected in regional media. To what do you contribute that?
    LDP: That’s nice to know, thanks. I guess it’s because I am good at telling other people’s stories. I think I have a unique ability to really get to know someone and tell their story in such a way that other people can get to know them easily. Plus I’m cute…lol.
  2. What is your biggest compliment and critique of T&T media?
    LDP: Biggest compliment…T&T media are sharks, highly competitive and that’s good, nothing like the adrenaline rush trying to be the first to break a story. Biggest critique … too many people doing the same things. Yes, politics is hot and sells but there are so many other areas such as education, labour, the environment, tourism, entrepreneurship, health, community etc that are teeming with stories even bacchanal that are begging to be covered and covered in depth.
  3. What are your top tips for people trying to get news covered?
    LDP: Follow the news format. Have an angle. We need to know what the story is from the get go. This applies particularly to press releases. We aren’t interested in the accolades of your client or product; we want the story. What is the story? Let that be clear in the first line and keep the releases short. Check your spelling and punctuation. Those things are massive turnoffs. And don’t try to show off your knowledge of the English language … just keep it simple. Remember you aren’t writing a release to impress your client, you are writing a release to get published or spark an interest in the media for a story.
  4. What is your super power to make parenting and career life work?
    LDP: Pray and laughter. They both keep me sane and calm. I have to keep a cool head on both fronts cause they both get intense and if I don’t stay cool I’d probably combust.
  5. What would be some songs on the soundtrack of your life?
    LDP: “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince, “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan and “Like a Boss” by Machel Montano
  6. You’re standing in front of a bunch of teenagers and you can only give them one piece of advice … what would it be?
    LDP: Travel, travel, travel. It’s the best experience you can ever have.
  7. What is one skill you learned from mothering three kids that has helped you in your career?
    LDP: To just get it done. When a baby wants to do something he just does it. They don’t care about obstacles and as my children get older I try to teach them how to overcome obstacles and not make excuses. I do the same in my career. No matter the obstacles I try to just get it done. I’ve also learned a bit of magic, like making holes in bread disappear…hoping that’d come in handy at work some day.
  8. If you were given a chance, what reality show would you enter?
    LDP: Biggest Loser cause I NEED to lose weight like yesterday ‘cept I don’t want the whole world to see me in a bra top and tights.
  9. If I came to your home and looked inside the refrigerator, what would I find?
    LDP: Plenty beer…lol. We don’t drink at home but we always got stuff chilled in the event that we have guests.
  10. Who else would you like to see answer a Top 10?
    LDP: Essiba Small16-facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/laura.dowrichphillips
    16-instagramhttps://instagram.com/ldowrich

Top 10: Colin Williams

Colin Williams is an New York based, award- winning photographer and creative director with a distinct passion for his Caribbean culture. He leads a team at Colin Williams Photography where they aim to expose life through the camera lens and engage people at their electric boutique-style “SoulBoys” events.

I first met Colin at now-closed-but-beloved Corner Bar (shout out to Jillionaire) in Trinidad in 2009. Oozing with charisma (and not bad lookin’), Colin is a people magnet. (Though I was kinda oblivious to him that night which is why I think he remembered me when we met again several weeks later at Fashion Week Trinidad & Tobago.)  We’ve worked on a few professional projects together and I have the upmost respect for his professionalism and creativity. His history of being “discovered” as a model and then transitioning behind the camera intrigues me. So does his ability to easily morph between West Indian limer and urban city dweller while still staying true to both identities — with camera in hand.

1: What is one tip you would give to your teenage self?
CW: Don’t forget who you wanted to be as a child, stop being realistic, and go for it. Work for it.

2. What is your best recovery from fail to win?
CW: Prepare for the truth within or prepare for your second round and win.

3. What to you favorite way to generate creativity and ideas?
CW: Sometimes I look at my old work or I go to museums and libraries and look at old painting.

4. What is the biggest difference between being behind or in front of the camera?
CW: The big difference being behind the camera is that I have the final say. When you are in front of the camera you don’t have to take creative direction from the photographer. I learned this from 10 years as a professional model.

5. What was it that made you realize that you wanted to be a photographer?
CW: Photography was once a hobby of mine and over time I came to realize my work was much more creative then some of the work that I saw from photographers who were professional.

6. What is one professional tool you cannot live without?
CW: The 28 – 70 millimeter lens on the body of The Nikon D810.

7. What do you consider to be your signature “thing”?
CW: Balancing daylight with flash.

8. What do you harp on the most as a parent?
CW: To grow with my kids and not have my kids grow with me. To know myself as a person and to always be honest with myself if no one else.

9. As a Trinidadian living in New York, what is your favorite thing about both places?
CW: I like the idea now that I can travel for hours to get to either homes.

10. What is one of your favorite projects on which you’ve worked?
CW: Single handedly and boldly preserving the legacy of the father of the nation Dr. Eric Williams, the first Prime Minister of The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Learn more about Colin at www.colinwilliamsphotography.com
Get social with Colin at 16-instagram   16-facebook

From the Vault: Climbing the wall at 1 a.m.

The master plan was Ricky was going to borrow the car and leave it at my place in North Valsayn (Trinidad) when he had to leave for his trip and place my car keys in my apartment and leave the apartment keys with the security guard. He would arrange a driver to pick me up from the airport and take me to my place and waahlaaah … I would get the keys from the guard.

I was skeptical that the guard would accept the keys since I had a conversation with one of the guards earlier in the week after they used their extra set of keys to let me in when my house keys were left in my car when Ricky again had it somewhere else.

The plan worked until the driver and I arrived at 41 Valsayn Avenue – my condo complex – at 1 a.m. Gate closed and no guard visible.

I got out of the car and walked to the guard shack. No one inside.

“Hello.” I said, not wanting to yell and disturb my neighbors at that time of the morning.

“Hellllllllloooooooo.”

I peeked over back to the driver. He looked peeved and skeptical that I even lived there. I moved back to the gate.

“Hellllllllloooooooo.”

Great … I have to leave at 5 a.m. to go to the airport to catch my next flight. Where IS the guard. So much for security!

I squinted to see if I could discern anyone on the door steps. Nope. I concentrated on the car in which I had once caught the guard sleeping. Nothing.

 Seriously … I’m getting annoyed now. Where is the security? Surely I am not the only person who doesn’t have the gate opener every time!

“Hellllllllloooooooo.”

Still nothing. Not a stir anywhere!

I looked at the driver, looked at my watch, looked at the seven-foot walls, and took a deep breath.

Hiking up my skirt, I planted my right foot (sandal and all) on a stone in the wall and hoisted myself up and over the concrete wall.

Upon landing, I looked around. Nothing!

Hmmm … again … great security. I could’ve been a real thief or something!

I walked over to the guard shack. Definitely empty.

Maybe there is a gate opener inside.

Searching through the shack I found the guard’s extra clothes and leftover food containers but no gate opener.

Arrrggghhhh!

I stomped back over to the gate. The driver looked at me like I was crazy.

I looked at every corner for a sensor, a button, anything! But nothing!

I walked past every door. No guard anywhere!

Arggghhhhhhhhh!

Back at the gate, I kicked the motor.

Come on! Open!

And suddenly it did!

I dashed over the gate track to the driver who had my bag in hand, grabbed the handle and pitched the bag inside the gate before it closed.

After I walked back inside the gate, the driver rolled away and then I saw him … the guard. His head popped outside a parked car’s window.

“You were there the whole time?!”

He shrugged.

“You watched me climbed the wall and run around for 15 minutes?!”

“I wanted to see what you were going to do.”