Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer
2012 was undeniably a memorable year. So as we wrap it up and don an armour of optimism for 2013, let us take a moment to reminisce on some personalities - those who made an indelible mark in our minds and on our hearts.
These 12 personalities shone in the nation's spotlight and took us along for the emotional ride, even if for less than five minutes. We shared in their highs (and lows) and wonder what the New Year will bring us. Here's our pick of personalities for 2012:
The underdog in the Miss Jamaica World Beauty Pageant earlier this year. However, the 21-year-old stealthily strutted in and nabbed the crown from a beautiful crop of women. Placing second in almost every fast-track event, the leggy lady then went off to Inner Mongolia, China, to represent us at the Miss World Beauty Pageant. With such poise, grace and dazzling beauty the world watched as Robins was poised to become Jamaica's first Queen to take the crown since Lisa Hanna in 1993. However, she was placed sixth, after which she was named the Caribbean Queen of Beauty. A stellar performance for the demure woman nonetheless.
A beautiful woman who is regarded as a philanthropic fashion aficionado. To her credit, she has brought some of the biggest names in fashion to the island, including George Wayne, Tyson Beckford and Meghan. With fashion always at the forefront, 2012 was a big year for Clarke. She attracted the big names such as swimsuit designer Red Carter, and Project Runway alumni Korto Momolu and Jerrell Scott. Alongside her business partner Kibwe McGann, Clarke conceptualised and executed the Collections Fashion show at the Wyndham in July. A truly spectacular showcase. We can't wait to see what 2013 holds for her.
There isn't much that needs to be said as to why she is one of the personalities of 2012. Just think about it - KFC. We all know and love it, never mind how it has us scampering to the gym. It's 'just good." The matriarch behind the Restaurants of Jamaica franchise, Myers has spearheaded her family business into one of the most successful in the country, which undoubtedly propelled her to being the first and only woman to be inducted into the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica's Hall of Fame. All that can be said right now is "Welcome to the Boys' Club Lorna; a job well done!"
Portia Simpson Miller
Some for good reasons, others for bad, one thing's for sure, Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller might actually be the second most celebrated person in Jamaica - runner-up only to Usain Bolt, of course. Judge her based on her charisma and love for the people, her absence from the political scene when issues arise or just her unique and appreciated fashion sense (which is always on par), but Simpson Miller is a force to be reckoned with. Just imagine making almost every social page whenever she steps out for an event (impeccably styled and immaculately dressed). The honourable prime minister was ranked by Time Magazine among 100 Most Influential Persons in the World in 2012 . Believe it or not, Jamaicans love Mama P, all 67 fabulous years of her!
He might be incarcerated, but Adidja Palmer believes he still runs the island's dancehall scene. Tune in to any radio station and you are sure to hear one of his songs or one of his latest releases. Kartel gives new meaning to being incarcerated. He is locked up, but he surely isn't missed because his presence reigns supreme. Tattooed and 'lightly' coloured, the Gaza Emperor has crafted the dancehall in his favour and has many fans and even naysayers or haters calling back for his lyrical genius in the industry.
When we learnt of Busy Signal's run-in with the United States' authorities, we all began to recite Hail Marys and clutch our fashionable Rosaries, praying for a fair outcome. After all, they already had Buju Banton and the local authorities took Vybz Kartel. The One More Night deejay was caught and subsequently went to prison, but not for long. Busy Signal returned to the island before Sting, which gave many in the dancehall arena something to look forward to on Boxing Day at Jamworld. Many are looking to him as the saviour of the dancehall, so let's keep our fingers crossed that his latest prison sentence hasn't ruined that.
He is the reigning Olympic champion in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay events. The first man to win six Olympic gold medals in sprinting, he was the first to achieve a 'double double' by winning the 100m and 200m titles at consecutive Olympics (2008 and 2012), including 4x100m relays. With such a track record and with great charisma it is only natural that he has the world eating out of the palms of his hands.
His showboating is loved by many and replicated by so many others, earning him time slots on talk shows all across the globe. The athletic superstar is also running alongside royalty, we might add - Prince Harry. His love life remains a mystery to most, but earlier this year his little secret was catapulted into the limelight when his relationship with fashion designer Lubica was splashed everywhere. A legend, no doubt, Usain St Leo Bolt continues to raise the Jamaican flag high and proud, putting him among the likes of Bob Marley.
Spearheading the Columbus Communications Group (operators of Flow Cable Services) as their president and chief executive officer, the bright, charming and unassuming lady has made her mark in the telecoms industry as Flow continues its rise in the local cable market. She remains one of the leading women in business in the island and the only female CEO in her industry. With her energies fully focused on her to-do list (covering the entire island with fibre-optic cables, powering up businesses and homes with fast-speed Internet service, while expanding the company's digital cable television and broadband services), Michele English still has more to offer come 2013.
She's not only pretty and always well dressed but there's a brain behind that fabulous physique as well. Attorney-at-law and philanthropist Paula Kerr-Jarrett is not your typical Jamaican politico. Strong-willed and determined, Kerr-Jarrett wrestled D.K. Duncan for his Eastern Hanover seat, but although she was unsuccessful this time around, she showed Jamaicans where her heart was ... for the people. Now that the political race is over, Kerr-Jarrett continues with her profession as a lawyer while juggling her family and her image on the social circuit. With her newest television show CVM's Naked Truth a big hit, one can only wonder what's in store for 2013.
Before Kelly came along, who can honestly say that they could place a face to brand JPS? Suddenly, JPS is being seen in a new light. Rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers and the up and coming, Kelly Tomblin is on the invited list at almost every event. Not only in Kingston, but even the ones out West. We often wonder how she does it as today she's in Kingston and then tomorrow it's MoBay and the day after Mandeville. Let's see if we will still be singing the same praises after our Christmas electricity bill comes.
Finishing third at the Olympics behind the 'lightning' Bolt and the 'Beast' was no small accomplishment and was also unexpected for the first- time Olympian. It was an expected 1, 2 victory with Bolt being number 1, and Blake number 2, but for Weir to grab the third spot was an added bonus for Jamaicans. The young champion was even knighted internationally with his new nick name 'Weirwolf'. Was it just a one-time beginners luck? Many say yes, but we can only look forward to 2013 to see what's in store for the young athlete.
The daughter of reggae legend Bob Marley, Cedella impressed the world with her design abilities when she designed the uniform for the Jamaican track and field team at the 2012 Olympics, including World champion Usain Bolt, under an arrangement with Puma. She described her vision for the outfits as 'Grace Jones meets my Dad - very music-inspired and a bit retro'. Her designs proved to be fresh, trendy and voted as one of the best uniforms at the opening ceremony. Love it or hate it, Cedella Marley repped Jamaica proud in London, England!