Charlene is a Project Officier who works for Notting Hill Housing – she is helping us upgrade our IT for care and support business. Charlene often wears brightly coloured clothes – which of course drew my attention to her. I asked her to tell me a bit more about herself.
I like that people notice my outfits and comment positively on my style. I often wear two colours which complement each other in blocks. But I love patterns too. I am definitely an extrovert, and not at all scared of colour like so many people seem to be. I have colour confidence! But I also have a long standing interest in style, clothes and make up. I love those programmes – Ten years younger, How not to dress and How to look good naked – the make over just fascinates me. I think all women have a right to feel beautiful and I do what I can in terms of my own image, and as a beauty consultant where I help women to look their very best. When I am performing I like to wear false lashes, contact lenses, lots of brightly coloured make up. I just enjoy it so much!
I enjoy working on projects – and in the future as personal projects I would like to design underwear, produce a cookbook and do more performing. I sing in the Nomad Bar in Old Street and at the bar at the Stratford Royal theatre – just an acoustic set. I usually wear a cocktail dress in a bright colour like lime green and pink. I also wear a lot of jewellery that I have from my Indian relatives – a bhindi and a full necklace, as you can see above. My family is Trinidian – my Grandma came from there and she brought me up. My family is quite mixed – with Spanish, Chinese, Indian and African ancestors.
The clothes they wear in Trinidad are mainly the same as they wear here. But I have some Indian clothes as a result. I really enjoy wearing my turquoise sari. And I love belly dancing – wearing Turkish and other clothes with jingly coins on them. I have travelled a lot – to the Caribbean, the USA, Mexico, North Africa, within Europe. I thought the fashions and make up of North Africa was very inspiring – especially their dark eyes.
I was the Carnival Queen at Notting Hill Carnival when I was 7. That is a real honour – you lead the float at Carnival, and you get to wear some of the best costumes. That is me right at the front in the navy, silver and white dress – here in Notting Hill. I am sure you know that Carnival was started and sustained by people from Trinidad – we have the same thing back home – it was great to express our identity, music and sense of art and style. My Uncle and other Trinidadians had a special band where they wore Native American costumes – they were famous in their time. For Carnival, and at other times you often see Trini people wearing the colours of our national flag with pride – it is red, black and white. We go strong on red – even the guys like to wear red trousers or jeans.
I have always been a bit overweight. I used to diet in my teen years, but as I got older I just became more accepting of myself. To be honest I love food and dinning at nice places – I eat out alot and I enjoy myself. I am happy. I think I dress well for my size. You can get nice clothes in bigger sizes – I get quite alot from Ambrose Wilson which caters for larger ladies going up to size 32. Not everyone who is bigger wants to wear blanket tops! I would say to big women “Be fashionable – dress for your body shape not your size”. I have a curved, hourglass body shape so I wear softer fabrics, curved lines. I find an empire line is good, giving definition in the middle and making your legs looks longer. Wear something that skims rather than clings, and make sure it finishes below your wider parts. And smile – draw attention to your face.