“One of my fondest memories in Carnival was being on the road with CAMPARI in both Trinidad and Jamaica earlier this year. Being atop the trucks while the music is blasting; dancing with everyone, and taking it all in. It embodies freedom, the freedom of expressing who you are.”
Trinidad and Tobago’s Rinelle Francis is a model, businesswoman, and, interestingly, something of a serial ‘Carnivalist’.
The social media influencer champions the Carnival scene in the persona of ‘Superstar RiRi’, whom she says is very different from the ‘Rinelle Francis’ the public never sees.
“RiRi is more openly sensual, you know, she appears brave and outgoing. Rinelle though is very shy. She likes to stay at home, watch television. Until it’s time for the next job and RiRi takes the stage.”
Shy Francis may be behind the scenes, but that doesn’t stop her from shining when it’s Carnival season. Francis flew to Jamaica in early November to link up with the CAMPARI family in time for the Xodus Carnival Band Launch which took place on November 9. It was not her first trip to the little island in the sun.
“But really when I come to Jamaica, the people, in general, are nice and welcoming.”
“I love the experience being in Jamaica, especially in Carnival time. I get to hear dancehall and soca when I’m on the road, and I get different adrenalin when I hear dancehall,” she said.
The model and businesswoman expressed that friends back home always ask her how it is that she works so closely with the CAMPARI team. Francis says there is natural connectivity at work.
“I can only sum it up to that I love CAMPARI, and CAMPARI loves me back,” Francis added, laughing. “But really when I come to Jamaica, the people, in general, are nice and welcoming. I love experiencing the music, the rum; it’s just a nice vibe.”
Carnival culture has been ingrained in Rinelle Francis since birth. That she should shine so brightly on the Carnival scene, wherever in the world that scene may be, is no surprise. The Carnival star has been an item on the scene for almost a decade and has jumped Carnival all over the world.
“You get a chance to be who you really are; you whine and rave, and you get to do it this way for two days. It’s perfect!”
“I’ve jumped Carnival in Miami, Barbados, St. Lucia, and of course Jamaica and Trinidad. I do them yearly,” she said. “I find that Carnival across the world is somewhat similar but different at the same time. Outside of Trinidad, you will find that they emulate the Trinidadian Carnival vibe, but the music, for instance, will be different. It will reflect a bit of that particular country’s culture.”
Francis has big plans for Carnival 2020. “We start with Carnival in Trinidad; it’s going to be something special. My birthday will fall on Carnival Tuesday, and I will be with the CAMPARI team. I also got my friends to play the same [bands] as me. I’m already excited.”
Rinelle Francis has been jumping Carnival since she was twenty-years-old. Saving up money to buy her first costume won her the attention of sponsors nine years ago. She hasn’t had to pay for a costume since.
Francis may be a successful businesswoman and model on the side, but Carnival is something always dear to her heart:
“[For me] Carnival is a means to express my freedom, who I am; my culture… You get a chance to be who you really are; you whine and rave, and you get to do it this way for two days. It’s perfect!”