2012 has so far been a stellar year for Jamaican athletes and for Shevon Stoddart the stars have definitely aligned to make her dreams come true.
The Kingston St. Andrew native turned New Yorker and now LA resident is following her double passion of athletics and music and doing so with poise and confidence.
Music was her first love; and by age 7 her hairdresser-mom enrolled the budding star in voice classes. She would often perform to a captive audience of waiting patrons at her mother’s workplace, imitating her favorite divas Whitney, Mariah and Toni. As they say , practice makes perfect and Shevon eventually moved on from singing over the hum of dryers and the slush of heads being shampooed, to the amateur stage. Performing to a wider audience (who often-times saw her triumph at city-wide competitions) soon led to gigs at events including weddings.
…and then came that day in Junior High where her passion was awakened. Again.
“I remember we had a field day at school and I ran one of the events. I realized I was really good, so of course I decided to pursue it further,” she reminisces.
That determination coupled with discipline landed her a full-ride scholarship to the University of South Carolina where she trained alongside fellow Jamaican Aleen Bailey, during what she describes as “an exciting time” in her life.
The Jamaican world class intermediate hurdler would go on to represent her country in 3 Olympics (2004, 2008, 2012) , the World Companionships (2005) , Central American and Caribbean Championships (2005, 2006)and the Commonwealth Games (2006). Her personal best of 54.47 was achieved in June 2005 at a match in Sacramento, CA.
While making inroads on the track Shevon continued to nurture her singing and songwriting talents hoping that one day she could go full throttle in both sport and music.
Enter athletic apparel giants PUMA circa 2008. They sign the athletic Caribbean beauty and by 2011 she becomes the female face of the brand. The following year, Shevon is featured in her biggest campaign to date. She along with the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, are the face of the Jamaican Olympic kit. Wearing uniforms described by TIME magazine’s as one of the best for London 2012, Shevon’s star shot into the stratosphere. Soon, her image is featured in magazines, newspapers, blogs, television stations worldwide.
Though she did not qualify for her field event the 400m hurdles, Shevon’s trip to London was well-spent. She performed her singles “Hot Girl” and “Go” at club Loop, off the famous landmark Oxford Street. Puma has used the tracks at promotional events, and even in their you tube videos.
To date she’s worked with the likes of GRAMMY-nominated Pierre Medor and Jamaican reggae great Sanchez who have added different layers to her unique sound.
Now she is ready to conquer the publishing world with her first book Making of a Champion. The businesswoman is also seeking to impact the wider consumer market with a series of workout DVDs in an effort to inspire others to develop both outer and inner strengths.
There’s no end to her winning attitude, expect nothing less than greatness.
Olympian, musician, patriotic Jamaican…Shevon Stoddart you are CC Certified!!!
Q & A
1.You moved to New York at an early age. How was the transition?
I left Jamaica when I was 6; but when I moved to Uniondale I would go back every holiday I got the chance to, so it all seemed like I really didn’t move away. New York to me is like another Jamaica. I had a big family there when I arrived and plus there were other Caribbean nations in my neighborhood- Haitians, Trinis etc. so it just felt like a different version of home.
2.When did you find out you had the talent for track?
I got into track at school. I remember one time they had maybe a field day and I ran one of the event and realized that I was really good. So I said if I had a little talent in anything I’m gonna use it to the best of my ability and that’s what I did. As a 9th grader i ranked number 3 in NY State in the 400m.
3. So you were a top ranked- high school athlete, got a scholarship to train at a US university and then chose to run for Jamaica. Why?
When it comes to what country we want to represent, the choice is ours and I definitely knew Jamaica was the country I would represent. Jamaica is where I was born. It holds a special meaning for me from the food, the music to the way I was brought up. I am proud to come from a small island that has such tremendous talent.
4.You are an up-and-coming singer, yet because of your stature as an athlete endorsed by a major brand you could have your pic of producers. Is there anyone in particular you are looking to work with?
Gosh, there are so many great producers out there. I am really grateful to have worked with Pierre. Um Bangladesh is good, Dr. Dre … so many; both known and unknown. I am willing to work with any one that makes good music and I am thankful for any opportunity that comes to me to better myself and my talent.
5.What do you do on a down day?
I am training pretty much all the time so rest is big for me. Whenever I have to go in the studio and record or make an appearance I just want to make sure I am well rested for those types of opportunities.
6.Do you sing when you run?
Yes, sometimes I do. It helps me get ready for my performances, as far as breathing and just expanding my lungs.
7.What is your worst habit?
I am a bit of a procrastinator, especially when it comes to packing. I wait till the last minute.
8.You live in LA.How much of a fishbowl is it? Is it as cut throat as I hear?
L.A in general is a pretty big city. Everybody is definitely about their business and their are alot of people in THE business. Its a good city to work in and though there is competition, there is also a lot of opportunity for people trying to get into the entertainment industry.
9. If you could be a car which would you be and why?
A Lamborghini because I’m stylish, hot and I look good in red!
10. What is your favorite:
Fine dining restaurant- Tao in Las Vegas
Exercise move- squats
Person to hang out with- my boyfriend
Ice cream flavour- vanilla
Thing to wear to bed- t-shirt
GO WITH YOUR GUT
11. Tattoo or piercing?
12.Stilettos or Wedges?
13. Knowledge or wisdom?
14. Home-cooked meal or take out?
15. Big Bird or Elmo?
16. No one knows that I like to cook.
17. If I had superhuman powers I would want to be able to read people’s minds.
18. I love it when people are happy.
19. In 20 years I want to be rich and married.
20. Shevon Stoddart wants to inspire all her fans to do great things.