Denise De Rushe is one Goddess that I know personally; I have always admired her love of all things Carnival, attention to detail when putting together her Carnival looks and not to mention that the fact that she is an absolutely warm and generous person. Denise is the “Goddess next door”, down to earth, friendly, approachable , always with a smile for everyone.
Gorgeous inside and out Denise gives meaning to the phrase “life begins at 40” since each year not only her do her Carnival costumes get more and more spectacular but so does she! Mother, band leader, loyal sister and TRIBE die hard Denise De Rushe is today’s featured Goddess of the Road.
1. We know a woman never reveals her age but, what’s your date of birth?
HA! I feel like I should say 22 because this is a catch 22 question. I am in my 43rd year of life.
2. Besides being one of Solange Shaw Gopaul’s Frontline stunners , what’s your occupation ?
I am an Accountant holding a management position as a Development Accounting Manager within a real estate development company.
3. In what year did you start playing Mas , can you list the bands you have played with over the years?
My introduction to Mas was in 2000 when my sister pushed me onto the road as part of her exit from the single life for Labour Day. I have played with NY based bands: Sesame Flyers, Karma, and my band Red Warriors. In Boston: Island Pride; Barbados: Baje International; Canada: Carnival Nationz, and Trinidad: Poison, Tribe, and Fantasy.
4. Have you ever missed a Carnival? If so what was the reason ?
After my virgin year in 2000 playing mas in New York, I was intrigued and my goal was to play mas in Trinidad and Tobago. Since playing mas in Trinidad and Tobago from the year 2005 I have not missed a year.
5. How many Carnivals do you participate in each year ? Which is your favourite outside of Trinidad and Tobago?
It depends on my mood whether I will participate in other regional Carnivals. Crop Over would be my favorite outside of Trinidad and Tobago.
6. What was your first Frontline costume experience and have you done Backline since ?
My First Frontline costume was with Poison where I played in their section titled “Aphrodite”. At the time I had no idea what the term “Frontline” meant when I chose this costume. what I did know was that I loved the costume. I sent my money, bought a pair of sneakers to match, tailored the costume to fit and met the band with nervousness and apprehension.
I followed up that first year experience with my first Backline costume which was with Tribe in their section titled “Nylon Pool” because I couldn’t understand why anyone would pay one thousand plus USD for a costume; this time I created my first pair of boots. For 2007 I played Frontline Warrior Spirit then Backline Black Magic as there wasn’t a Frontline to this section. All other sections from the year 2009 have been Frontline costumes and I honestly cannot envision going back to a Backline costume.
7. Favourite Carnival costume of all time ?
It’s a toss-up between “Caged Canary”, “Jezebel” or “Persian Gold”.
8. What do you love the most about Carnival and playing Mas?
The pageantry and sense of freedom.
9. How do you choose your Carnival costume ? Is it true that you choose by designer since we have noticed your loyalty to one in particular?
In the beginning I chose my costume based on color, movement and how the costume fits the model. I have been fortunate some years ago to be in the right place at the right time when Solange Shaw-Gopaul presented her first section. Since then all of her designs have been well thought out and executed to perfection. She has a strong sense of loyalty to her regular Frontliners and an abundance of customer service and attention to detail. For these reasons I have been loyal to her.
10. When does your Carnival preparation start and what does it include? Do you workout or are you genetically blessed?
Preparations starts right after band launch, thinking about boots design, additions to the costume, jewelry, Monday wear, extra gems etc. I have to work out. In the past I could get away with a minimal amount of exercise. These days I have to maintain a regular workout and diet routine, however I still enjoy my sweets and my love for curry and roti. I kick up my workout and diet regimen in January.
11. Single or taken ?
12. Solo Superstar or plays Mas with a crew?
I enjoy playing mas with my sister and best friend, however I am a solo superstar when selecting my costume.
13. If you could only choose ONE Carnival fete to attend at Trinidad Carnival which one would it be ?
I am not a feter by nature so I don’t have that one fete that I must attend at Trinidad Carnival.
14. We notice your boots are always fabulous, how much of your own creativity goes into the process ?
100% from the concept to prowling the streets of New York City for that right gem or trim.
15. Give us a run down of getting ready Carnival Tuesday morning before hitting the road. How much work does it take to be road ready?
I lay out my costume and all accessories the night before. I am up at 3:00AM, wash my hair and let it air dry, then I am off to my 4am make-up appointment which takes about an hour, upon my return it may take another hour to get dressed, all in all it takes about three hours to get road ready.
16. You have got to be one of THE most photographed masqueraders in TRIBE, how many professional photos did you get this year and is there a secret to being sought out by photographers?
I have never taken the time to count the amount of professional photos taken of me. I don’t think there is a secret to being sought out by photographers. If there is a secret it may just be to look like you are having fun and smile. smile, smile. 🙂
*Side note TCD did a count and Denise appeared in 47 professional photographs for Carnival 2013.
17. The one thing people would be surprised to know about you ?
I was painfully shy even into my twenties. Today I will say that I am not as shy but still reserved.
18. Do you have fans or stalkers? And how do you deal with being asked to constantly pose for photos on Carnival Monday and Tuesday?
I have fans and I hope no stalkers…lol. Spectators are part of the show, I am there to display my costume and they are there to appreciate the costume so in turn I will always stop and pose for a picture whether it’s for a professional photographer or a family of twenty where everyone wants picture.
19. Your top tips for anyone wanting to look like a Carnival Goddess?
Number five – Know and understand your body and what looks good on you.
Number four – Accessorize.
Number three – Always complete the costume with a decorated pair of boots etc.
Number two – Engage your audience, smile, pose etc
Number one – Don’t take yourself too seriously.
20. Which band are you gracing with your presence for Carnival 2014 and what can we expect your costume to have any additional extras?
I will be with Tribe and there are no extras to my costume, the rest you will have to wait to see 🙂