Gwendolyn Smith – Ibis Queen OF Caroni

In 2009 Gwendolyn Smith was a first time carnival Queen. She told me she is a full-time professional athlete in track and field, which in theory, should prepare the body for such a physically demanding job. Despite being an athlete, she said she hadn’t quite gotten used to pulling such a heavy costume. She said, “You can’t imagine how difficult it is to carry a 10’ by 10’ costume.” From what I could see though, she was doing just fine.

I interviewed Gwendolyn before she competed in the semi-final round of the Queen of Carnival competition. Later that evening she shared that it was also an opportunity to create a shift in her life after a year of grief over the tragic murder of her partner. She described how he was shot by a stray bullet over a year ago, which put a dark cloud over her and her daughter’s lives. She saw this as an opportunity to start living again.


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