Fri | Nov 24, 2017

Chanel DaCosta - Beauty and Brains on the Rise

Published:Sunday | October 15, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Dacosta (left) plays a Venticello in Mozart Amadeus.
Chantel makes her way through the Leopard crawl during the inaugural Guardsman Games.
Chantel DaCosta with Trinity College Oganist and Choir Master Randy Mills and Daniel Morra.
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Chanel DaCosta, the face behind the popular LASCO iDrade television commercial, is making major moves to cement her stay in the creative industry.

The 23-year-old, who sings, dances, acts, and models, among other things, most recently landed the role of House of Flowers (H.O.F.) Decor's bride, at the Jamaica Bridal Expo held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre late September.

The budding biochemist, project manager, and actress has been dancing since age three and has had many modelling exploits. DaCosta has already worked with esteemed productions including the 2017 Caribbean's Next Top Model, and the 2017 Crop Over carnival campaign in Jamaica dubbed 'No Crew Left Behind' through the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI).

She has also been part of various commercial promotions as well as marketing internships with Jamaica Producers (2015 and 2016); and worked as a performing arts and group counsellor at Edutech Summer Camp along with short administrative stints with ELDAC Consultancy and Scorch Limited.

Currently working to complete her bachelor's degree in biochemistry and management studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, DaCosta is also a sales and marketing executive at Jamaica Island Roasters and Co-Director of ChloMo Projects and Events.

How does she manage it all? Proper time management. "Time management and writing things down. I make to-do lists and I try to schedule everything in my life - my meals, exercising, working, studying, classes, meditation, leisure and even down to how many hours of sleep I get. I have a life planner that allows me to not only keep track of my goals as well as my mental, emotional and physical well being. This is vital in order to function efficiently. I also set alarms for everything and always make sure that my phone calendar is in sync with my physical planner. I try to start my days as early as 6 a.m., so that I can make the most of the day."

Her original interest in pathology, has inspired her to pursue a medical degree, commencing in 2018. DaCosta said that her passion for genetic engineering and charity work with Angels of Love, a local non-profit which assists critically ill, disadvantaged and underprivileged children suffering from cancer, has inspired her to specialise in paediatric oncology after medical school.

She said that her philanthropic drive was inspired by her mother. "I grew up seeing my mom being thoughtful of others - she is very selfless, always giving a helping hand, being supportive and showing appreciation for others around her. She always made a point of giving back, even in small ways, As early as I can remember, we have donated regularly to the Salvation Army. As a result, it comes natural for me to provide charitable support whenever possible. I make it my duty to give back to my community, no matter where I am or how small it may seem."

DaCosta said that her speciality could also be in sports medicine, based on her interests in sports and nutrition. "Fitness and nutrition and general well-being are big parts of my life. I started track from around age seven, and I competed in prep champs. I was a sprinter doing the 200 metres, relays and medleys. I did football and badminton for a while. Going to the gym has been a hobby for the past four years and I'm also into yoga and meditation."

When asked how she locked in her lead role in the iDrade commercial, the fitness enthusiast said that it could have possibly been due to her participation in the inaugural Guardsman Games in 2016. "I was on the A Team the first year. It's a cross-fit, obstacle course with running as well as mental puzzles and team work. Maybe after they saw me compete, they thought I'd be able to do what was involved in the ad, which was similar to what I did in the Guardsman Games. All the circuits in the ad are real believe me, it was real sweat," said DaCosta.

In fourth form at Campion College, her curiosity about the world and the need to experience new things led to her securing a scholarship to continue her secondary studies at Trinity College School, a coeducational, independent boarding school in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. "I like to travel and experience different cultures and new languages. They had a lot of sports, arts and academic courses which piqued my interest," she shared.

While at Campion and later Trinity, DaCosta participated in numerous clubs and charity initiatives. However, it was at Trinity that she really delved into charity work and theatre. She landed numerous roles in multiple productions, displaying her acting and singing skills. She has since continued to participate in theatre while attending UWI.

While studying French and Spanish from 2006 through 2013, her love for different cultures caused her to commence studies in Portuguese, German, Italian and Dutch; while her travel interests have led her to visit Spain, England, Belgium, France, Poland, Italy, Nicaragua, The Netherlands, Barbados and the United States. According to DaCosta: "Happiness is a priority in my life. I am sure that once I am happy and enjoy whatever I do, I will be successful."