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Taromi targets excellence
Taromi Lourdes Joseph is a busy bee in the local performance industry on whom tabs are not easily kept. Her career as an actress, for which she is best known, can be traced to her involvement in the Theatre in Education (TIE) Programme run by the Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW) 13 years ago, but there is a lot more to her than even this.
Since the TTW experience, there has been no turning back. Her credentials now span stage and screen and she has appeared in over 30 films, television productions and commercials.
Taromi is also no slouch behind the camera, either as a videographer or director.
To top it all off, she has also received instruction in ballroom, folk and modern dance and vocaltraining in the areas of gospel, contemporary and classicalmusic.
We are not done yet. In 2006, Taromi was Gold Medal Winner of the Petite Modeling Swimsuit Category at the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Hollywood, California and was 1st runner up in the Ms Carnival Queen contest of 2010 where she also won an award as Ms Tropikini Best Body.
So, how should we describe this actress, singer, dancer, director and model?
“I identify more with being an actress who can dance, sing (not like Whitney but I can carry a tune), play an instrument, direct and write,” she says. She plays the pan and her latest musical dalliance involves selfadministered guitar lessons.
“I produce too, but rather not,” she adds quickly. “I started off dancing actually from a young age but acting took over I’m not certain why or how.” Actors who straddle stage and screen often have a favoured medium. Taromi does not particularly have a preference.
She however confesses to stage jitters even though she is “comfortable and excited” by both stage and film.
“Anything live is nervewracking for obvious reasons.
My first live tv gig was interviewing government ministers and officials on the WI TV series … and no one wishes to mess up an interview with any guest, let alone someone with a governmental/ministerial portfolio,” she says.
“But it definitely helps to sharpen your cognitive and improv’ skills. The mental preparation is different,” she adds.
Taromi was born to actHowever, Taromi advises, with film, things are not that stressful though there are occasions when things can get dicey.
“Who’s to say Lupita’s (Lupita Nyong’o) whipping scene in 12 Years a Slave wasn’t stressful?” she asks. “Exposing yourself physically and emotionally takes a lot of preparation and courage, period.
“For me it’s not difficult but it’s not 100 per cent easy either going back and forth between the media.
I do not have a preference. I am comfortable and excited by both. I was born to do this so I might as well be very okay with any medium,” the multi-talented performer says.
For this, Taromi is thankful to the TTW and New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts- School for Film and Television “for laying the foundation forme, for being a part of their productions-Romeo and Juliet ( Juliet), Green Days by the River (Rosalie) and An Echo in the Bone (Brigit).”
“Those solid experiences in theatre gave me the confidence to excel in the other forums of tv and film.”
Taromi’s acting career has also spanned a variety of theatrical genres from Shakespeare to historical fiction to comedic farce. She was asked about the impact of this on the roles with which she is viewed as being better suited.
“Every role I have done is different, thankfully. I would have it no other way,” she says.
“It is a definite plus as I am able to stretch my talents and abilities as far as possible.
“I believe that’s why I have been able to get consistent work (since) clients see my diversity and want me to be a part of their product in some way because they trust I can execute the task whether in film or advertisement.”
Taromi also suggests that “actors make a living either way - whether they’re type casted ornot.”
“I have not been type casted in the Trinidadian market and fingers crossed the same will follow as I pursue my career overseas. I do not have a preferred genre or role type. I’m ready for anything,” she says.
From the evidence, she is in fact “ready for anything.” For instance, her performance in therecent Together WI production of The Vagina Monologues called for strong message delivery.
“Yes, the work I do as an actress is to help, incite change and educate the masses-women and men,” she says. “One can’t fix without the other. Women and men are facing challenges.
“I am more conscious ofit now, but I want my work to illustrate strong girls and women everywhere. I want to motivate them to think and act independently in a world full of yes men and women zombies,” she adds.
“My work is slowly but surely preparing me for a role as the nation’s prime minister.”
Ever busy, Taromi is currently in production for a film that looks at mental illness. She is also rehearsing for a play to be launched in May.
In the meantime, this busy lady is shooting a television programme and engaged in preproduction work on a music video.
Between shoots and rehearsals and production and wage-paying work as a Massy Stores head office manager, Taromi updates her social media streams and can be followed on Instagram @taromilourdesactress, on facebook as Romi Jo and on Twitter @TaromiLourdes (Taromi’s Make Up: Ephraim Hunte)
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