Très Chic Carnival Troupe, founded by Owanna Stout and Kinila Callendar
The first time I met Owanna was on September 5th, 1991. It was her first day of elementary school and I remember it so vividly because it was also my birthday. As she walked into the classroom, I remember her being a beautiful, quiet and shy (you know that didn’t last for very long) left-handed girl with the most elegant handwriting that I had ever seen. At that moment, I decided that we were going to be friends. To this day, I still joke that her being my friend is non-negotiable since she was technically my birthday present. Since that time, Owanna has not only excelled as a business professional, earning a Masters in Criminal Justice, but has dedicated her career to working with, mentoring and rehabilitating troubled youth. Partnering with the Department of Juvenile Justice, her team works to improve the quality of life of our youth and also works in partnership with their families and communities to inspire change, growth and success. Apart from her professional life, she is also a baker and owner of Craving Sweet Treats, where she provides a host of seasonal bakery items, including but not limited to, cakes, guava, pineapple and coconut tarts, tart bites, and other local delicacies. In addition to her homemaking abilities, she also the co-owner of Très Chic Carnival Troupe, Inc., a St. Thomas Virgin Islands Carnival troupe she founded with her best friend Kinila Callendar. The troupe's innovative concept of creating a functional costume that would allow participants to be able to convert their "fete-wear" to swimwear that can be used long after Carnival, was genius! Launching a Carnival troupe has always been Owanna’s dream, who has consistently participated in Carnival activities as far back as I can remember. In 1999, she initially told her best friend that she wanted to start her own carnival troupe. At the time, the idea seemed far fetched, however after about 16 years of constant nagging, Kinila finally said, “Yes, I’m ready to start a troupe” and shortly thereafter their company’s name was filed and they began to execute their plans. Their story continues to serve as an inspiration to me as often times due to fear we are hesitant to follow our dreams. Owanna and her friend demonstrated that by having faith, being consistent and maintaining a great support system, you can accomplish your goals and achieve anything you put your mind to.
Be sure to support and follow Très Chic Carnival on Facebook, Instagram at @treschiccarnival.