Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 26th 2016 Contents ERLINE ANDREWS
In secondary school, Chelsea
Ramjit, 22, was teased for
being rambunctious and
walking "like a boy". Other cruel
taunts came her way.
"They used to say I was the
Hunchback of Notre Dame," she
recalled. "Back then I woulda take
it on because you want to be cute,
you want to be the hottest girl in
your school. But now I really don t
care. This is the way I walk. I grew
accustomed to it. And I like being
like that. This is me. Nobody s like
Chelsea. Everybody has a special
way how they walk and how they
Ramjit sat down recently with
four other young women, finalists
in the Always #LikeAGirllTT com-
petition, which called for nomina-
tions from across T&T of young
women who were doing impressive
things with their lives. Two of them
will be chosen, by a process of
online voting and judges, to be
ambassadors and mentors to girls
around the country.
Their conversation was guided
by Nicole Joseph-Chin, a business-
woman who also works to empower
women and help them build net-
works with each other across the
world. They discussed personal and
professional challenges and why it
was important for women to sup-
port and mentor each other.
Ramjit, a drama teacher and stu-
dent, talked about the role one
teacher played in her life.
"She saw something in me that
nobody ever saw in me. She saw
that I had the ability to make people
laugh and to get attention from
people. And that s how I got into
drama," said Ramjit.
"She said, I think you should get
into theatre. You have that poten-
The teacher s support was par-
ticularly important, since Ramjit
lost her mother to cancer as a
"My first play at university, she
was at the front row sitting," Ramjit
recalled. "She said something to
me that always stays with me. She
said, You are given this life because
you have the strength and ability
to live it. "
Scars don't define you
Justine Low, 25, is an events co-
ordinator who was severely burnt
when she was eight months old.
She was permanently scarred, losing
a finger and all her hair.
"When I was in school I was bul-
lied 24/7," she said. "Still today I
walk down the street and people
would say something or they would
stare. I kind of just learned not to
take it on. I run on the assumption
that people don t know better."
Some experiences have been
harder to brush off than others.
"I went to (university) in Florida.
I was out with my friends one night
and this guy was drunk and he was,
like, sticking a phone in my face:
Can I take a picture? Can I take a
"For months after that I was like,
I don t want to go out anymore, I
don t want to be in public too much,
I don t want to be in certain places.
"I am confident," she said, "but
every so often you get kicked down
and you second guess yourself. But
then you re, like, no, that s not my
fault that they don t know better."
Selisa Jessamy, a 21-year-old spe-
cial needs teacher from Tobago, said
it s only since living on her own
that she started to care less about
what people say about her.
"I would not say that I have con-
fidence in myself. I really don t,"
she said. "People might say some-
thing. It might be You know you re
fat. I m bold. I would respond. So
me ain t seeing that? "
Chin interjected, "You find you
are forced to be defensive most
times? Have you ever approached
it gently, like, I m fat and here s
why. Or I m fat and, you know
something, these are the attributes
of a fat person ? Sometimes you
just have to embrace people s neg-
ative perceptions and turn it into
Giatri Lalla is a 21-year-old who
founded an NGO to help poor chil-
dren attend school. The challenge
of raising money for such a worthy
cause surprised her.
"You re going with the perspec-
tive (that) this is to help people.
Everybody s going to want to help
somebody. Everybody s going to
want to help a child."
But Lalla said she encountered
a lot "negative people".
"And the main comment was: I
need for myself. Who s going to
give to me if I give to you? " she
"That was the worst thing ever.
That line could turn you off. That
could stop you from wanting to
carry forward. It was shocking. I
know there were bad people, but I
didn t know it had so much. Some
of them did come along after a
Connecting through tech
Kandyss Trancoso, 25, uses com-
puter technology to reach young peo-
"Now that we are in the age of
information and almost all the stu-
dents have their smartphones at their
fingertips, we are able to commu-
nicate with them and say, Hey,
instead of using this to bully people
The original star of the Alien film fran-
chise says she's hopeful about reprising
her role as tough-as-nails survivor Ellen
Ripley in another sequel.
Weaver told the Comic-Con crowd dur-
ing a Saturday panel celebrating the 30th
anniversary of the sci-fi sequel Aliens that
District 9 filmmaker Neill Blomkamp
pitched her an idea for another installment
when they were working together on his
2015 film Chappie.
"Four months later, I got a script that
was so amazing and gives the fans every-
thing they are looking for---plus innovates
in a lot of ways," said Weaver.
The actress, who will soon begin produc-
tion on filmmaker James Cameron's
Avatar sequels, isn't sure when they would
work on the project. Alien director Ridley
Scott is currently crafting a Prometheus
sequel titled Alien: Covenant.
"(Blomkamp) has work to do, and I have
work to do," said Weaver. "I am hoping
when we finish those jobs, we will circle
back and start to do it."
Weaver last portrayed Ripley on screen
in the 1997 sequel Alien Resurrection, the
fourth film in the series that ended with a
clone of Ripley arriving on Earth. (The orig-
inal Ripley sacrificed herself at the conclu-
sion of 1992's Aliens 3.) (AP)
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Continues on Page A26
Sigourney Weaver hoping to reprise Alien heroine Ripley
Businesswoman and mentor Nicole Joseph-Chin, second from right, shares a light moment with the prospective #LikeAGirlTT ambassadors Kandyss
Trancoso, left, Chelsea Ramjit, Giatri Lalla, Selisa Jessamy and Justine Low. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
It's important for girls and women to share, support
and mentor each other, say these young people
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