My writing career started in 2012 with the Caribbean Fashion Blog NoMoreFashionVictims.com (NMFV)
As a fashion stylist, I was commissioned by various magazines and blogs to add my voice to style stories and designer interviews, as well as lifestyle pieces. Bylines include Refinery29, Fashion Bomb Daily, Fashion Focus Magazine, and The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian newspaper.
In 2017 I began my transition to NYC to further a thriving career in fashion, but instead unexpectedly put the brakes on it.
The move from Trinidad to New York deepened my curiosity into the complexity of immigration, and how it simultaneously dilutes and concentrates one's Caribbeanness. I became consumed by this personal unfolding narrative, and shifted my writing to focus on these stories instead.
After being short-listed for the BCLF Caribbean Nunez Writer's Prize in 2019, and winning it in 2020, I am wholly dedicated to uplifting Caribbean Stories through both fiction and non, and dissecting the impact of the heritage within the contemporary diaspora.
WINNER OF THE BCLF ELIZABETH NUNEZ WRITER'S AWARD 2020
"The Case of the Missing Eggs"
Click, click, click
She turned the knob to get the stove started for breakfast. It must have been very early. The sun was not out yet. It was particularly noisy for this hour in Caroni, Mammy thought, as she wrestled with the fire that would not light. She walked to the fridge to get the cheese. What she saw stopped her cold. It was not just that the fridge shelves were now completely empty, but that through the transparent glass, she could see into the crisper, and there was something in there that could not be. Frightened, she slowly pulled open the drawer and took out her mother's beras.
"SO MY CARIBBEAN ACCENT IS COOL NOW?"
Published on Gal-Dem, February 2019
“People assimilate not as a matter of admiration, but more as a means of survival”
We consciously dilute our inflections for acceptance and to be better understood. Over time we have been conditioned to assimilate to avoid the negative stereotypes. Yet, “Freshwater Yankee” is a term Trinidadians give to our people when they return from the US with American slang squeezed into a now unrecognizable Trini accent. We would often poke fun at how quickly we surrender our natural way of speaking, and adopt the foreign tongue, saying that it is picked up as soon as we enter the airport.
In the past I thought people did this because they idolised the American way, and felt a desire to belong. Anything foreign seemed better. But now, I see it as less of a matter of admiration, and more as a means of survival. It does not matter what we say, but how we say it – we can be the most highly educated in the room, but our accents are still met with prejudice and racial stereotypes of incompetence.
The Bene Caribe blog features interviews with remarkable Caribbean women, doing good for the region, like Dr. Winnette McIntosh Ambrose; engineer-turned-entrepreneur, two-time Food Network Champion and restauranteur, Media Powerhouse Vanessa James and Diving Olympian Katura Horton-Perinchief.
The Les Iles blog discusses the value and importance of Caribbean Art, and shares interviews with the impressive Caribbean artists listed in their online gallery, like Suchitra Mattai and Elladj Deloumeaux.
The Island Pops blog complements the Island Pops ice cream cream brand in Brooklyn, NY. Their creative flavors pay homage to traditional Trinbagonian favorites, with unique combinations. Through the blog, they hope to bring awareness to the rich history of Caribbean fruit and food culture.
The new NMFV blog
Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing candidate at Brooklyn College (Fall 2021)
A visa quandary that brought me back to Trinidad for longer than expected
More Diasporic Publishing
NOT MY FANTASY VACATION?
My NoMoreFashionVictims blog has quite instead been no more about fashion. As I work to give a new sentiment to the acronym NMFV, I am currently editing the blog to act as a body of past work, contemplating how or if I will continue to write there. Since my US non-citizenship has been the impetus for much of my perspective these days, I'm contemplating referring to NMFV now as Not My Fantasy Vacation. On brand with this theme, I recounted my experience of temporarily moving back to Trinidad in a two-part blog post called Repatriation.
In the mean time I have been contributing to Wakonté, the Toco Times and Vocal media, sharing pieces cooked up during (and before) my unexpected and frankly disturbing months back in Trinidad at the mercilessness of borders and covid.
I am due to begin my MFA in Creative Writing at Brooklyn College in the Fall of 2021, and have created a crowd fund to assist with the tuition expenses.
WRITING THE WAY WE SPEAK: "IS THERE SPACE FOR THE CARIBBEAN WRITER?"
Published on Wakonte
I am a Caribbean writer, and I go out of my way to include “Caribbean” in that title. I am not just “a writer”. Making this distinction means that you know immediately I am from a hot place. So my mouth hot too. It means I know a good bit about innovation, and racial mixing, and developing nations. It also means I speak a certain way. I can wind my words between the colonizers’ standard language, in my case that is English, and the masterfully adapted creolised tongue that continues to evolve still. I am from Trinidad and Tobago, and I write stories about people from there who talk in a kind of sing-song like I do. Who abbreviate with glottal stops and liaise two, three words at a time. For a while I debated with myself, whether I could write professionally in my dialect, and be understood by a wide audience. As I became a more avid reader of Caribbean literary fiction, I found my answer: I must.
Samuel Selvon says it best in the introduction to The Lonely Londoners. Standard English “just would not work”. Susheila Nasta wrote “the language was not sufficiently pliable and could not convey the feelings, the moods and the – as yet – unarticulated desire of his characters. The oral vernacular simply could not carry the essence of what Selvon wanted to say. Once he switched to the idiom of the people and shifted his register to fuse Standard English with the full range of a broad and hybrid linguistic continuum, he was able to bring new life and rhythms to the book.” This fell in my garden.
"We get our ears wrung in school for speaking in dialect. “Broken English” they call it. As though when this English broke it didn’t sprout a genius infusion of diverse cultures into a new living vernacular.
The stereotype of uneducation that comes with the way we speak is a myth. We are expertly bilingual or multilingual, being able to seamlessly bob and weave between languages. We have a multifarious vocabulary that translates through sign, sound and verb."
WHAT THEY'VE SAID ABOUT ME
and the NMFV blog
"The discipline of her fiction is canny, ironic, and searingly honest. Her dogged pursuit of excellence is cultivated in empathy, entrepreneurship, and zeal"
Shivanee Ramlochan; poet, arts reporter and book blogger
"NoMoreFashionVictims.com is a staple for those interested in Caribbean fashion. A smart cutting critique of the state of the fashion industry, it has been stepping on toes while winning fans."
Roslyn Carrington, Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Newspaper
"Stephanie has been instrumental in shaping the voice and brand of Les Îles, with authentic and compelling narrative on Caribbean artistic talent, bringing an intellectual, thought provoking dimension to our niche audience."