Wed, 01/15/2014 - 13:06 — Gina Aimey-Moss

Coolest Caribbean People Of 2013 - Pt 1

2013 has been a pretty good year for a Caribbean presence in the pop culture scene. As I’ve done in the past, I thought it would be a great way to start the new year by recognizing the coolest Caribbean people of 2013. Whether they were raised in the Caribbean or are a part of the diaspora, these artistes, celebrities and sports stars have done their countries proud or have been truly intriguing on a global scale.

Here's the first half of the list in no particular order:

Rihanna

Bajan mega star Rihanna would be an obvious choice for this list but with good reason. Last November, the pop diva received the first ever American Music Icon Award. Her mother Monica Fenty made the touching presentation where Rihanna thanked her mom for saying ‘Yes’ to starting her music career and hailed her relatives and old neighbours from Westbury Road, Barbados. She was right to find it crazy to win an Icon award at 25 years old. However, the Bajan beauty continues to break music industry records, including tying with Michael Jackson for having the third most number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 in the chart’s 55 year history. 

Rihanna

Bajan and international music icon Rihanna.

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington has had a commendable acting career for decades but she became a household name with the critical and commercial success of 'Scandal'. Washington – who is of Jamaican descent – and the juggernaut show have broken racial barriers, with the gorgeous 36-year-old being the first black actress to lead an American network drama series since 1974 as well as the first black woman to be nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 18 years. She also received nods from the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild. To top it all off, Kerry’s alma mater George Washington University honoured her with an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts this past May. Getting married and pregnant in 2013 have also added to a terrific peak for Washington!

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington has had a huge peak in her career and personal life.

Joan Smalls

Joan Smalls is another island diva breaking barriers in her chosen industry. The Puerto Rican beauty – who also has roots in St. Thomas – became the first Latina face of Estee Lauder cosmetics. She is hailed as the #1 model in the world on Models.com and ranked #8 on Forbes: The World’s Highest Paid Models, 2013. Smalls appeared in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for the third time this year. She has also worked with other major brands including Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, Calvin Klein Jeans, Givenchy, Roberto Cavalli, Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss. In an age where celebrities dominate magazine covers, it’s telling that Joan graced the cover of Elle’s January, 2014 issue, dubbed “The Return of the Supermodel: It’s Joan Smalls”.

Joan Smalls on the cover of Elle

Joan Smalls on the cover of Elle magazine.

 Melodie Monrose

We first spotlighted model Melodie Monrose of Martinique two years ago when she walked a whopping 49 shows in her first season. She has continued to blossom in her modelling career. This year she appeared in a Coach Love Fragrance ad campaign and was featured in editorials with Elle, Vogue Italia, Beauty by Vogue Italia and Interview Russia magazines. She also graced the catwalk for several shows this year including Zac Posen, Jason Wu, Ralph Lauren, Carolina Herrera, Tom Ford and Rihanna for River Island.

Melodie Monrose in Elle wearing Mariano Vivanco

Melodie Monrose in Elle, wearing Mariano Vivanco.

 Tessanne Chin

When Tessanne Chin was chosen as part of the line-up of season 5 of singing reality show The Voice, loyal West Indians and people of the Caribbean diaspora joined forces to vote for her week after week. Her vocal prowess and island girl charm won over the hearts of the judges as well as the American audience. After dominating the iTunes’ Top Ten downloads list with recordings of her live performances, the 28-year-old Jamaican songstress surprised no one when she was victorious and became The Voice for this season. 

Tessanne Chin

Tessanne Chin holding her trophy from 'The Voice'.

Check out Part 2!

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