17 Ways to Become a Carnival Goddess Fast!
Pictured: Soowan Bramble
“ I want to be a carnival goddess!” So many of our clients and non-clients have uttered these words, we would make millions if we were paid a commission on them.
What’s interesting to us, are the answers we get when we ask their definition of a carnival goddess. Many people don’t even know what they mean, and what it entails. When we ask them, we get answers like “go to carnivals for free year round”, “make money from carnival”, “go to carnivals for a living”, and “be paid to model and be the face of carnival”. All of these are reasonable answers, but to truly achieve the status of “goddess”, you need to stand out from the mass of women (and men) competing for attention in the carnival industry AND truly understand what your goals are.
For example, are your goals to be a carnival goddess known for modeling for Miami Carnival, or do you want to be more like Sabrina Sato, the Brazilian carnival goddess, television host, comedian, actress, and model with an estimated net worth of $185 million? When there are such large extremes in an industry, it’s important to know which part of the spectrum is your goal. You also need to be serious about advancing your personal brand, business brand, or preferably both, to achieve goddess status.
Pictured: Stephanie Bramble (left); Sabrina Sato (right)
Either way, Shi’dor can help you make some reasonable steps toward achieving your goddess goals. Here’s how to do it FAST!
1. Be Seen
When you were young you probably heard the phrase, “young ladies should be seen and not heard.” You’re grown now and you need to be seen and heard. Your face, your body, your brand needs to be front and center. You need to establish a personal brand ASAP.
Social media has made it easy to establish a brand and gain an audience. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Periscope and Snapchat will all allow you to quickly and easily build your profile, reach your audience, garner a reputation, and convince others of your value and relevance in the carnival industry.
It also doesn’t hurt to get a website to show off your online portfolio.
2. Engage, interact and build relationships
In 2016, you should be following and appreciating your followers. Back in the day, you had to have a high following, while following very few people, to show up on the “Popular Page”. Instagram/Twitter etc. got rid of this feature. It doesn’t make you look more important and it definitely doesn’t help you achieve goddess status.
You MUST follow and interact with people following you. If you keep ignoring comments, questions etc., before you know it, you’ll have zero.
When you have a profile that looks like this, nobody meaningful will follow you.
In fact, you’ll look like a fake profile with a million fake followers.
Engage, interact and build relationships. Your brand will benefit from it and you won’t be turning off your future clients by being unapproachable.
3. Be Consistent
Even the most popular goddesses had to start somewhere. Carolyn Gomez is a great example of this.
Even if you don’t know her name, you know her face. Carolyn is consistently photographed and posts photos of her adventures and costumes for all to see using a variety of different social media platforms. She’s not “stush” at all and even accepts friend and follow requests on her personal Facebook profile.
Personally, I would refer to her as a goddess and an influencer in the Caribbean Carnival industry.
Old Instagram Photos (November, 2012) – Pay attention to the likes, comments, and the photo quality
Newer Instagram Photos (July, 2015 & March, 2015) – For only 3 years, this is a DRASTIC change!
Patience and consistency are key factors to achieving goddess status.
Current Follower Count on Instagram:
It might help engagement metrics to follow a few more fans, but it’s not that bad in comparison to a lot of others.
4. Leverage Viral Moments (yours or others)
You can take control of your viral moments or the viral moments of others. Two women that recently went viral and leveraged their moments were Natalie Fonrose (IG: fon_rose) & Denisha Burton (IG:_inhalemee).
Both of these ladies gained extreme popularity after photos of Natalie at Trinidad Carnival went viral and a video of Denisha dancing went viral.
Since then, Natalie has been consistently designing for masqueraders and even designed Monday Wear for Fantasy Carnival for Trinidad Carnival 2017. People follow Natalie intently to see what she’ll be wearing to fetes and various events.
Current Follower Count on Instagram:
Denisha successfully launched “Dance with D” a travelling dance workshop that was even sold out in the UK a few weeks ago. She has established herself as an authority when it comes to Caribbean dance fitness.
Current Follower Count on Instagram:
If you don’t go viral, how can you leverage someone else’s virality?
Talk about them! Use them as a discussion point on your blog, or vlog, hashtag or even in a status update. When someone searches them, they’ll find you. In addition, you can do business with these people. Think about ways that you can work together to build both brands.
Posts Before Viral Moment
Both Viral Posts – DRASTIC Changes in Engagement – Look at the likes and view counts.
With these kinds of numbers, you can expect any business venture that they choose to have strong support from their followers. Take note!
p.s. Carolyn also leverages her influence (viral or not) to promote her personal brand: caroanddalia.com – a fitness website. Her body took hard work and she’s willing to help others put in that work too.
5. Be Patient
Becoming a carnival goddess doesn’t happen overnight. It just doesn’t. Keep pushing toward your “tipping point”, that magical moment when your personal brand crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.
Think of your personal brand like the flu. In the same way one person can cause a full blown flu epidemic, one moment, one targeted push, or one interaction with the right person or audience can cause your popularity to soar. Ideas, people, products, messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do. Tip: read “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. It will help you to learn how to make your goddess efforts “sticky”.
6. Go to Multiple Carnivals
Trinidad Carnival Diary jokingly made mention of people only going to one carnival. For a goddess, this is no joking matter. You need to be seen at multiple carnivals. Yes, it breaks the bank, so be strategic and plan ahead, but it needs to be done if you want to pass the “princess” stage.
Tip: Go to carnivals near you, they may be cheaper. For example you can go to Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and the Bahamas. All of these can be done on a budget and you can play backline (but nobody has to know). Buy your backline costume and then purchase your carnival wire bras and other gem stones etc. to enhance your costume to high heaven. Goddesses stand out. Shop Shi’dor to embrace exclusivity.
Pictured: Allison Mcclean
7. Partner Up Occasionally but Don’t Depend on Them
Yes, carnival is better with a crew, but all crew members are not about this goddess life. If they can join you, let them, if not, don’t worry about it. Go to carnival, have a time, take photographs, and build your brand. You don’t have to be twinsies at every carnival either. You should pick the band/section that will add the most value for your personal brand.
Carolyn and Dalia (pictured above) are a good illustration of slaying together, but they aren’t attached at the hip.
8. Work for Free (sometimes)
Sometimes modelling for free with photographers or bands has the capacity to get you follow-up paid jobs and much needed exposure required to achieve carnival goddess status. This is not to say that every single gig should be free, but don’t turn down gigs with potential.
As a designer, if Rihanna wanted sample prototypes to start a band, would it be a good idea to turn down the business? No! Turning down the business today for a few bucks could mean turning down a lifetime of paychecks from the singer.
9. Get Custom
Nothing much to say here; if you’ve been reading, you know you need to stand out. Get those custom carnival wire bras, feathered leg pieces, feathered backpacks, feathered collars, whatever it takes. Don’t look like the other 300 masqueraders in your section. Need help? Shop Shi’dor.
Pictured: Kimberly Megan
10. Create a Back-up Plan
Just like the ladies above that leveraged their viral moments, come up with what you will be doing when the moment wears off. Nothing lasts forever. Will you have a dance studio, a Monday wear line, custom T-shirts? Figure it out asap.
11. Get Photographed
You should be getting photographed ALL YEAR. Find photographers that need paid and unpaid models. Get your pictures. You’ll need to post new gorgeous pictures of yourself every chance you get. People love to see beautiful people.
12. Get Healthy
Is there a correlation between Carolyn’s goddess status and her healthy fit body? Nobody can truly say if that’s the case, but I will say this, costumes don’t sell themselves, the models do.
Designers look for models that can enhance their costumes. Masqueraders don’t even realize how much of a difference the model makes when their swooning over a costume. So…get healthy, it helps.
Pictured: Sharisma Thomas and Chantel Gonzalez
At Shi’dor when clients look over the model portfolios they are automatically inclined to select their models based on their questionnaire answers and their photos. Sharisma and Chantel both noted that they work out every day in their interviews. That’s a plus for a client wondering if they still look the same and can attend a photoshoot as soon as tomorrow.
13. Be Diverse
Attend non-carnival events and take photos. If you can model at events, even better!
14. Save Money, you’ll need it
As a goddess, frontline costumes and/or custom enhancements are almost necessary. There are times when you’ll be purchasing big costumes. Big costumes = big money. If your current circumstances simply don’t allow for this, we recommend that you learn some basics to enhance your own costumes. Carnival raw materials such as rhinestones, trimmings, wholesale feathers, appliques, and a wide assortment of other trimmings and accessories can be found on the Shi’dor website.
15. Exaggerate When You Can
This goes back to saving money. If you can go big sometimes, do it! Not every carnival needs an extravagant costume, but some do. Carnivals that we suggest costume exaggeration are Trinidad, Jamaica, and Barbados. These carnivals are heavily photographed and you have more of a chance of going viral if you’re breathtaking at one of these carnivals. Miami Carnival and Carnival in NYC also have secondary potential for virality. You should also have on makeup that looks professionally applied.
Pictured: Abby Olurin
16. Learn to DIY
Sometimes you’ll need to make repairs and your own enhancements, Shi’dor can help. Subscribe to the Shi’dor newsletter for costume industry tips, tricks, and exclusive product updates (located at the bottom of the Shi'dor website).
17. Have fun
Only take these steps if you’re truly passionate about becoming a carnival goddess. The journey is not easy, but it’s fun – if you’re passionate. Unusual piece of advice: don’t be afraid to stop if it isn’t like what you imagined. It takes a lot of time and effort to be a goddess and it’s not for everyone. If you’re not having fun doing it, then it’s not worth it.
Bonus - Understand the Realities
There is only so much room on the Carnival Red Carpet. Acquiring goddess status is literally like acquiring fame: many are called; few are chosen. Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to get 15 minutes in the spotlight — however uncertain that may be. Follow these steps and you’ll have a better chance, just remember, take advantage of your 15 minutes, the goddess game is a long term game. Being a goddess may help you to earn money and travel the world, but only if it’s done smartly.
Good luck goddesses!
If you have more ways, share them in the comment section below.