Monday, February 19, 2018

The Caribbean's next top model is here


Wendy Fitzwilliam. Photos: Calvin French

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Everyone is excited, this Monday will be epic. We can all envisage our very own beauty, Wendy Fitzwilliam saying the signature words of model and founder of America's Next Top Model USA, Tyra Banks: "Twenty-three women now stand before me but I can only choose…"

Indeed, knowing Fitzwilliams she may come up with her signature words with a Caribbean flavour but at the end of it all we will undoubtedly witness as she put it, "a true celebration of who we are as Caribbean people", in the first and future episodes of the Caribbean's Next Top Model (CNTM), which will debut on Monday, February 18th, 2013 at 9pm on sister station TV6.

The show, which was shot in Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean islands, is the Caribbean's version of CBS's internationally renowned Next Top Model format and it will be broadcast in 25 Caribbean countries.

CNTM will feature 23 Caribbean beauties: Xiea from Antigua & Barbuda; Sedia from Barbados; Jenelle and Kendra from the Bahamas; Treveen from the Cayman Islands; Stephany from Curacao; Treicy from the Dominican Republic; Ashley from Guadeloupe; Lisa and Trudy-Lee from Jamaica, and Semoy, Ornella, Anna-Rosa, Davia, Julianna, Athaliah, Candace, Susan, Sheriza, Rachel, Kim-Marie, Maranda and Tinnitia from Trinidad and Tobago.

Fitzwilliam, who wears the hats of host, co-executive producer and judge, promises the show of our lives. "We will see our Caribbean women as we have never seen them before. Our young women will provide beautiful caricatures of what is Caribbean beauty. It will not be westernised or europeanised but will comprise of the essence and aesthetics of the Caribbean. CNTM will cover many Caribbean issues as well, from sexuality to race to culture. More importantly, these outstanding women will be prepared for the international stage and be able to work anywhere in the world after their tenure on the show." In addition to Fitzwilliam as the chief judge, there will be other judges such as international photographer Pedro Virgil, runway coach and creative director of Trinidad and Tobago's Fashion Week, Richard Young as well as international and regional experts in fashion.

International stylist, Freddie Leiba, will also appear on the show as a featured guest, along with music producer, Bryce Wilson, international photographer Matthew Jordan-Smith, fashion designer Claudia Pegus, reigning Soca Monarch Machel Montano and Factor Model Management's Bridget Halanski.

Judges and guest celebrities aside, many of us wait in hungry anticipation

for the exciting storylines, thought-provoking inhouse contests, gutsy photoshoots and womanly camaraderie and catfights which make the show enticing. Who will be the bossy one on the show, who will be the shy one? Whose story will be the most popular? Fitzwillaims smiles at these questions and gives one sneak peak. "One of the competitors, a Trinidadian, came onto CNTM without her family's knowledge and on Monday night, for the first episode her family will learn for the first time of her involvement in the show. It may be a moment of pride or a moment of anger but only time will tell," declares the former Miss Universe. Another teaser of great episodes to come was the daring photoshoot done on spot at the Hanuman Murti in Waterloo, T&T.

There will be ten regular episodes with re-runs on Saturdays and a reunion show so that these little titbits don't really mirror the treat we are in for, nevertheless we settle for these clues for now.

"This show will sublimely celebrate our beauty and diversity through the vehicle of entertainment. We've done a good job of putting the show together but what I think is most attractive about it is that it is a manifestation of who we are in high definition. Our quirks, the beauty that is the Caribbean but done in a first world manner. It is the way in which I would like to see us presented more," Fitzwillaims concludes.

For a sneak preview to CNTM, log on to:, or follow CaribeNTM on Twitter.