Donna Philip-Forde returned to the UK following a personal triumph in the final of the Queen of Carnival category during this year’s Trinidad Carnival. Her joint fourth position with Savitri Holassie was a great achievement, as this year was only her second appearance in the final.
UK-based designer Clary Salandy, of Mahogany mas band, moved fast to construct the piece in just five weeks. Wire, glass-fibre rods, foam, aluminium and steel made up the costume, entitled ‘View from the Helm – Dance of the Dolphins’. The dolphins were designed to appear as if they were swimming.
Donna was part of the 2017 Trinidad Carnival presentation of medium-sized carnival band K2K, which took as its theme ‘At the helm’. K2K is very much a family band, founded six years ago by twin sisters Kathy and Karen Norman.
Donna is no stranger to carnival competition, as she is the current queen for Dragons Carnival Club in London, a position she has held for 12 years.
Donna said, “I have always wanted to be a queen and cross the Queen’s Park Savannah. Visiting Trinidad was the norm for many years, as I used to spend Christmas there with my mum. When she passed away a few years ago, I made up my mind that I would seize the opportunity to participate in the queen costume category.”
This year marks Donna’s fourth outing during the Trinidad Carnival season, and she’s aiming for a place in the top three next year. When asked what advice she would give someone wanting to play queen for Trinidad Carnival, Donna commented, “Just go for it! If you really love the artform you should follow your heart.”