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My IT’S

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LIFE

INSPIRATIONAL

IRENE

SINCLAIR

106 Years young


Your Vision Is Our Priority CONTACT: Medina Williamson Š 2015 KML EVENTS UK LTD info@kmleventsuk.com +44 (0) 207 504 1065


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MAGAZINE

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elebrating our loved ones lives is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately often we leave it too late to capture those stories from the past. When we were asked to capture the life of Irene Sinclair, we jumped at the chance as she is such a wonderful lady with a beautiful story and character.

Pauline and Krystle Downie Mother and daughter and joint founders of It’s My Magazine

Her wealth of experience and wisdom accumulated throughout her 106 (and counting!) years resonated all the more as it reminded us of the importance of documenting family stories. Our (great)grandmother came from Jamaica in the 1950’s having grown up close friends with Bob Marley’s mum in St Ann’s and had a lot of stories to share. We’d always promised to write her life story but unfortunately, she passed away after a short illness. All of our family history disappeared and we resolved that we would make it our business to preserve the stories of others. Subsequently It’s My Magazine was born and here we are today, celebrating the life of a fabulous woman 106 years young! We love you Irene!

Medina Williamson CEO KML Events UK Ltd

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xperienced wedding and events planner Medina Williamson was immediately drawn to Irene’s story. “I was very touched when I met Irene and was compelled to do something special for her. We will be having tea at The Dorchester, one of the many luxury venues I work with in central London. I so wanted to be able to capture a slice of history for Irene and commissoned this heirloom with It’s My Magazine as a special gift to celebrate her wonderful life and beauty.

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ellow Guyanese and award winning journalist and keynote speaker Sherry Ann Dixon was immediately inspired. “In order to motivate and make an impact on the next generation, I chose a woman who made a serious impact on my life and that was Irene Sinclair;106 years old, and an ex-Dove model who says, “Never say never”. When I decided to host my first Awesome You event, I chose Irene as the first recipient of the Awesome You Award and she certainly made her mark.

Sherry Ann Dixon


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06 IRENE’S CHILDHOOD 09 STYLE FILE: IRENE ROCKS RED 10 TEA FOR TWO 14 MY FAMILY 16 A LIFE OF BEAUTY 18 THE WORLD IN 1908 IT’S MY EDITORIAL TEAM CREATIVE DIRECTOR EDITOR JOURNALISTS PUBLISHER

Pauline Downie Krystle Downie Chris Henniker, Olivia Harris It’s My Magazine Ltd

CONTACT info@itsmymagazine.com www.itsmymagazine.com Tel: 0203 086 8982

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A MODEL’S WORLD

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rene Sinclair proves that it is never to late. From childhood dreams of becoming a performer, this (truly) great grandmother fulfilled her childhood ambitions when at 96 years of age, she was selected to front an international Dove Campaign. A true inspiration, a Legend. Â

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| Summer 2015

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.. BORN in 1908 106 years young is a vast accomplishment in anyone’s eyes. Whilst a Dove campaign at 96 is no mean feat, what was life like in Guyana for an independent girl?

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-Olivia Harris-

orn on the 23rd of September 1908 in Guyana, Irene has fond and vivid memories of her childhood and is able to provide a fascinating insight into life in this forgotten period. Irene recalled Guyana as a ‘pleasant place to live’ during the early 1900’s however in the first half of the century, Guyana couldn’t have been the easiest of places to grow up in. Riots known as the ‘Ruimvedlt Riots’ rocked the country with workers dissatisfied by their standard of living. However since gaining it’s independence in 1966, Guyana has grown economically, socially and politically into a stable and healthy country. Irene’s earliest memories center around her father who was a gentle, loving farmer and her industrious mother who prepared fresh food for the family ‘every day’. The fourth in a line up of five siblings, she particularly enjoyed weekends with her grand parents who instilled a strong sense of morality, emphasising the importance of kindness on the young girl.

“The old days were lovely, but I’m glad I’m here now! ” 6

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As a child, Irene and her siblings used to run around their big estate providing them with regular exercise in the fresh air and enjoyed playing on the large swing their father made for them in the yard. As well as fun activities at home, Irene enjoyed an active social life, regularly frequenting local concerts and Sunday school dances held in the district where she danced with boys, and stayed out past her seven pm curfew. However Irene was never far from her responsibilities and school work and credited her sister as a constant protective companion, fondly remembering ‘she always looked out for me’. That bond lasted throughout the ladies lives, with her sister living a rich and fulfilled life until the age of 104, only passing into sleep in February of 2015.

“Yes I was sometimes a bit of a rebel, when I was naughty I’d run to my daddy because my mother would say “come here.” and give me a slap!” -Irene Sinclair i n f o @ i t s m y m a g a z i n e . c o m


sister sister! Before the Spice Girls, these sisters were pushing girl power, 1920’s style

Irene’s treasured memories of Guyana include the food, lush greenery and places to go, which were “wonderful”. Living in the sunny country far into her adulthood, where she became a teacher, she was blessed with a daughter, describing motherhood as one of her proudest moments. When she followed her daughter to the UK in the bitterly cold September months of 1957 at the age of 49, she was so unimpressed that she wanted to go straight back! Her first thoughts of England were ‘it was too cold, we had to sleep in layers; pyjamas, blankets and socks!’ She immediately informed her daughter and son-in-law who agreed to save up the funds for her return journey. However, once he informed her the next spring that they had finally raised the fare, she marvelled at their ingenuity, “You think you’re fooling me, you don’t have the money in the cold winter, but now it’s summer you find it! They knew that experiencing her first British summer would leave her hooked, and it did. She stayed. “My daughter she said to me ‘You know you can’t resist’ and I said “of course!”. i n f o @ i t s m y m a g a z i n e . c o m

“One memory that stands out is when we went to a dance and had a nine o’clock curfew. Whilst my sister and I were dancing with the boys, we looked over and saw mother standing by the door, just looking. We tried to twirl away from her stare whilst dancing, pulling the boys to the other side of the room without being obvious, my heart was in my mouth. It was only two or three years ago that my sister and I had a conversation about this night actually, we were so naughty! But my sister would always stand up for me, she just looked at me and said “Let’s go home right away!” we managed to leave, dignity intact!”

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BY READ ALL BACK POPULAR ABOUT IT DEMAND IRENE SINCLAIR,

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ou could say that stardom was in her destiny. From a small child in Guyana reading magazines, Irene always wanted to be a performer. “In choir practice, the Sunday school teacher always used to say to me “Oh, don’t sing so loudly!” and she wanted to get rid of me as she said my talents lay elsewhere, she instead got me to recite. Oh, how I loved to recite! Last time I did it, I remember I was nineteen years of age and we used to go from one school to another and to concerts. I used to get flowers too, I was good!”

“I didn’t become an singer, but I was still in the public eye as a child.” -Irene Sinclair Billboard star Irene was ecstatic to find out that she was live and direct in New York’s Times Square Below: The media that has featured the star

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SHE StyleFile

She Rocks Red

Get the look From red dresses to blazers, Irene certainly knows how to turn heads

Diamond Watch For that extra special touch, dress up any outfit with a touch of sparkle. Try this Complete your outfit with a pair of silver sandles, this colour and style can be worn with many different ensembles.

Get the look Make an entrance in a wide brimed white and black Hepburn hat. Irene is rarely seen out on a formal occasion without one

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This magazine’s printing has been proudly sponsored by our friends The Color Company, www.color.co.uk 1 Curzon street, London, W1J9 5HD | Summer 2015 Thanks so much guys!


Tea For Two

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Medina Williamson Executive Director KML Events UK Ltd

he moment Sherry Ann Dixon, CEO of Awesome You, spoke to me about Irene Sinclair, the lady who was chosen by Dove at the age of 96 as the face of their brand, I knew this celebration had to be special. And no other venue but The Penthouse at The Dorchester, the scene of the original Dove launch 16 years ago, could do this event justice. Irene has fond memories of her times at the hotel and the Oliver Messel designed room with its terrace overlooking the city is one of the most elegant event spaces in London, and an ideal setting to honour this incredible woman. Tea in The Promenade at The Dorchester

The Penthouse and Pavillion Tea room

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n arrival, Irene will begin with a photo shoot in The Penthouse and take in the views of London on the balcony. Press interviews will be held on a one to one basis to learn more about Ms Sinclair’s expansive life. Irene’s distinguished guests will be greeted upon arrival and welcomed with an introduction by Sherry Ann Dixon, where the traditional silver service of an afternoon tea will then be served. After a vote of thanks by the woman of the moment, Irene Sinclair, a mini presentation will follow, honoring the wonderful lady herself.


HALF WAY THERE

Irene’s top tips to keeping your mind, body and soul fabulous at fifty

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Coconut oil is all you need, for cooking, skin and hair. Most health shops sell 100% pure coconut oil which is great for keeping the skin elastic and youthful looking. This is essential as skin loses collagen at a faster rate, particular after fifty.

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We’ve heard it before, but fresh fruit and vegetables are vital for keeping fabulous after the half century mark. Irene is an advocate of good food for health, or if you can be bothered, try juicing, jucinig, jucing if you can face the washing up!

Irene fabulous at fifty:With her thick luscious hair, tight skin, and youthful pose, Irene looks decades younger than fifty.

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“My relationship with God has made me a kinder person”

Fatih is very important in your spritual development. However it’s not about being religious, it’s about understanding your purpose, and your inheritance. Having a sense of who God is gives you joy and peace and hope on a special level.

We know it’s a pain but it can’t be forgotten. As you get older, please become more active. If you are not able to get to a gym, at least stretch once a day, go for a walk or swim. If you live nearby offer to take the grand kids to school so you have a reason to go out.

“The only thing about growing older is not going out. I walk to the

cemetery, it’s a three minutes walk but last time it took me twelve minutes. My doctor says ‘It’s good for you!” -Irene Sinclair

CELEBRATING FIFTY Give your loved one the VIP treatment It’s My Magazine is celebrating all things fifty and are looking for fifty wonderful people to feature in a special edition for 2016. Do you have a story to tell? Are you approaching that milestone half a century? if so, get in touch to find out more. www.itsmymagazine.com i n f o @ i t s m y m a g a z i n e . c o m

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Who says that you can’t? YOU do. If Irene Sinclair can do it, so can you!

SHERRY-ANN HONOURING DIXON WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE 12

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A friendship revealed Sherry Ann Dixon was so inspired by Irene Sinclair that she honoured her with the very first Awesome You award.

Who would have guessed that a chance introduction would set a catalyst in motion, impacting the lives of awesome women everywhere?

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o live a full and active life until the age of 106 is a wonderful achievement. I was invited by Pat Bollers to meet Irene just for tea and a chat. Whilst I was with her, I found myself being excited by all that she said. Irene reinstated in me that I was right in trying to bring back core values, the same belief that she has held throughout her life. She lived healthily and believed that if you are good to people, the world is circular and whatever you do will be returned threefold. That day I was so overwhelmed and inspired that I rushed home to write an article and share my joy on social media. I then thought that her words of wisdom should be documented and appointed a film crew to come back with me to record an interview. This is now on YouTube and all who have watched it agree that Irene is indeed awesome.

“Many women are too willing to take a back seat and moan. I want them to stop, because our forebears had it much harder.”

-Sherry Ann Dixon

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I founded the Awesome You event to make an impact and motivate others to raise the bar, let them make their mark and pass on the baton to the next generation. My philosophy about getting up, getting on, and get going and to discourage women, especially the younger generation, from giving up. I want them to stop moaning because our foreparents had it harder. Many women of my grandmother and mother’s generation had to work a day job, do a part time job or make money teaching private students. Whatever it was, they did it. Now the younger generation, who are more equipped with gadgets to make their lives easier, are choosing not to enhance their personal brand. I want to make them see that it’s not good enough to give up.” If Irene can grace billboards at 96, what small things might we be doing on a personal level to fulfill our potential?.  | Summer 2015

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MY FAMILY

By Irene Sinclair

Welcome to my family, unfortunately we did not take many photos back in Guyana, infact the first photo of me that I still have is when I was fifty years old. It is very hard to believe, especially in this modern age of selfies!

Tell us about your childhood Irene... It was lovely. My father was a farmer and my mother prepared fresh food everyday. It wasn’t easy getting to school, because we had to walk a good distance. I used to walk fast. But sometimes we were lucky. We had the Royal Mail truck which used to give us a lift, for the two miles, from the post office. Who was more strict, your mother or your father? My mother. My father was a quiet man, he gave you one look and you behaved yourself. But my mother gave me a slap sometimes.

Father Donald Charles Sinclair, Born 23.09.1880 Died 1952 Aged 72

Can you remember the house you grew up in Irene? Yes I can remember. It was a court house, it used to have courts in it. Then when my father got a job nearby working and it was not a court any more, we lived there. There were two floors and the kitchen was downstairs, I can remember that. The kitchen was big with a dining table down there, so we would spend most of the time eating and we went up, to sleep at night. Did you have any brothers or sisters Irene? Yes, I had two sisters and two brothers. One was adopted. So we were five. I was the one before the last.

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Irene Sinclair’s daughter and grand daughter posing with their marvellous matruarch

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Do you remember your grandparents? I spent lots of time with my grandmother when I was nineteen. She lived in the second district, the number two village. When I was teaching at Cumberland Graceland, I used to spend the weekday with her and then went to work weekends. i n f o @ i t s m y m a g a z i n e . c o m


Irene Sinclair’s beloved sister who was a fellow centurian, passing into sleep at 104 years of age.

What is the best advice your grandparents imparted to you? Oh, to be kind! Always be kind and giving. My father was a very generous man. And he also always said to be kind to people and always help, my mother was very generous too. I know she would cook for my friends and give them lunch nearly every day, to feed them before going home. Very generous, the both of them. What were you like as a child? Oh I was a naughty little child. I was precocious, my father would tell me when I was seven or eight, he used to have me on his shoulder every day as I insisted! I was always questioning: why are you doing that? Ask so many questions. Never as I said, did he spank us, that look was enough! Did you have any heroes or role models growing up? Yes. The school mistress because I thought I would do that for quite awhile, and her brother. Yes I respected them greatly, and of course the minister. What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be an actress. Although I don’t like to be the centre of attention, but I like to be noticed. Don’t push me to the front but I’ll tag along. Because if you’re disappointed with the front view there’s always number two. When you were a teenager, what did you used to do for fun? Oh? We skipped rope, and swing lots as my father had made a big swing in our yard. We used to run around the big estate, and it was a ten minutes walk to the main road so we used to do a lot of running around. So we had lots of exercise. I used to enjoy the local dances run by the church with my sister, fun! i n f o @ i t s m y m a g a z i n e . c o m

Irene is a grand mother and great grand mother and is about to welcome a new great grand daughter into the world


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Beauty A Life of

When you mention the word “supermodel “, the names Naomi Campbell, Giselle Bundchen, Kate Moss and Fann Wong come to mind, now imagine them at 96 years old, not so pretty huh? -Chris Henniker-

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sk Irene Sinclair what has been her most rewarding experience in life and it won’t be travelling first class to America for photo shoots or even seeing her face on a billboard in the middle of Times Square New York, it is actually the birth of her daughter, “Oh, we only had one daughter and she was born in 1931.” The most enjoyable period of raising her little girl was the early days. “I adored her. She was a pretty little girl, and she’s still pretty.” Her faith is also a major factor in her success in life. “I ask God to make me a little more generous than I am to give to charities like I do and I am blessed to have lived such a long life”.

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Even as society becomes more avaricious, she has no materialistic aspirations. What would she do if she won £1m? “I would share most of it with charities, I don’t think I’d keep any at all...I wouldn’t

know what to do because I’m comfortable So I’d send the money to good causes. However, I’d also give some of it to my grandchildren, I have four. I don’t know how long I have left, but the most important thing is my family, I think of them so much.

what’s going to happen to them when I’m gone, especially the younger ones. The older ones, I know they’re adults, I’ve watched them grow. I’d be very unhappy to leave the younger ones without knowing what the future will be for them. I have no regrets really in life, my cup is full. All my friends are young people, in their 80s-90s, I only wish that I knew more loved ones who are one hundred. But that just shows how God has been kind to me. Irene is also a believer in good karma, committed to returning the good fortune to helpful friends. “I’d also reward friends who were kind to me, and my daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren would come first.”

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In Guyana, I was old at forty, I came over when I was forty nine. And when I came to this country, I was treated with more respect, here they respect the old.

Her childhood dreams were answered and her resilience payed off when she was snapped up by the ad agency for the Dove campaign. “They wanted someone in their seventies or eighties and the manager said: “I need to see for myself this ninety six year old who looks seventy seven”. She came to my house, looked at me and she said: “I thought you were the daughter! Be truthful, you’re not ninety six? This has to go in print!” However, having second doubts after signing the contract, when the agent declared that she must go to the US for a photo shoot, Irene’s reservations didn’t go down well. “I beg your pardon!” She declared, “I flew all the way across the Atlantic to meet you. I want to make a model of you!”

Eventually the agent countered, “If I’d spend a day in the studio, she’d give me thousands of pounds and I’d already signed the contract. So when September came, I did go of course to Manhattan and stayed at the Mariott Hotel where she had a suite. She said she didn’t know how I did it and that I really surprised her at my age. Those photographs and the interview were published in the newspaper. And when I came back to the UK in September, everything was quiet here of course, but in January, I stayed at the lovely Dorchester, and my photos were in the newspaper and magazines all over the world, it was wonderful”. For some girls in their teens and twenties, an event like this would change their life. For Irene, this was just anoth-

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er twist and turn on her roller coaster ride. This was the adventure of a lifetime, but how did she cope with it? “Oh I’ve been to three or four hotels with my agent in Canada. Well, I said I would like to go back to the Dorchester and now we are, next week.” As the poster girl for Dove, she’s taken it all in her stride: “I don’t know how I did it, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I didn’t let age or obstacles hold me back.” Her best piece of advice for living? “Never regret and never say never.” Doesn’t this make her a supermodel? Here’s to at least another decade. | Summer 2015

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The World in 1908 The average life expectancy was 47 years.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen

The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year

More than 95 percent of all births took place at home

There were only 8,000 cars and speed limit 10 mph

Marijuana & heroin, were all available over the counter

The American flag had 45 stars - there are now 50

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub

Irene’s Favourite Things... Which 2 people do you admire most?

Oh well it has to be Sidney Poitier and Sean Connery. When I was young, I knew everything and anything about them. I love to watch them still!


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Guyana!

reasons to visit

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THINGS TO DO “My sister and I used to go out all the time, church dances, parties, we had fun on our farm, the space is amazing.”

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“The weather! Although when it rains, it pours, so bring an umbrella, but the sunshine is beautiful!”

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”If you go to Guyana, you have to go to the Kaieteur Falls, we used to go there on family holidays, it’s wonderful.” Guyana is a country of vast, often untapped, natural resources. Endowed with extensive savannahs, productive land and forests, rich mineral deposits of gold, bauxite and diamonds,

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“Oh, who can forget the food that we have, my sister lived up to 104, I’m sure the fresh, delicious food had something to do with it!”

High Commissioner Laleshwar Singh and members of the staff at the Guyana High Commission convey heartfelt congratulations to Ms Irene Sinclair on her 107th birthday. We all share this wonderful birthday with you. We sincerely wish you many more years of good health and peace. We at the High Commission, the Government of Guyana and the Guyanese people salute you at this auspicious time. -High Commissioner, Laleshwar Singh, and members of staff. 22 May 2015


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106 year old Irene Sinclair's It's My Life Magazine  

Born in 1908 this inspirational woman is now 107 years young and positive to boot. From tales of partying past curfew with her sister in th...

106 year old Irene Sinclair's It's My Life Magazine  

Born in 1908 this inspirational woman is now 107 years young and positive to boot. From tales of partying past curfew with her sister in th...

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