Just days before the Commonwealth of Dominica Ontario Association’s (CDOA) second Madam Wob Dwiyet competition, Marcella Durand was seriously considering withdrawing from the show.
The theme of her pastor’s sermon two Sunday’s ago, which addressed conquering fear, helped her overcome her apprehension and clinch the crown last Saturday night at the CDOA 39th annual anniversary gala and Dominica’s 31st independence birthday celebration.
The Nature Isle of the Caribbean achieved independence on November 3, 1978.
“I was really thinking about pulling out until I heard that powerful speech and it made me realize that I could do anything I wanted to do,” said the All Nations Full Gospel Church member. “I went to rehearsals that same Sunday afternoon with a renewed sense of purpose and confidence.”
The mother of three has maintained her Dominican roots even though she has spent most of her life in Canada. She came here at age five and resided in St. Catharines for two decades before relocating to Toronto.
“Initially, I thought I was just going to be modeling the national wear,” said Durand, who is a hair designer. “I had no idea I was getting into a competition so in a sense, the experience turned out to be more than I bargained for. I enjoyed it immensely.”
The other contestants were first runner-up Eulalie Registe, Caryl Elie, Junie Royer and Mona Dib. They were judged, among other things, on poise, grace and stage presence.
The Wob Dwiyet is a style of ladies dress that emerged in the French West Indies towards the end of the 18th century and its design is believed to have originated in southern France where women at the time wore a similar outfit.
The dress, which is considered a significant aspect of Dominica’s colonial heritage and is usually worn on special occasions, comprises a long petticoat made of cotton or satin and decorated with rows of lace and ribbon, a full length outer dress with a trail and narrow sleeves that extend to the wrists, a scarf and a folded headpiece that’s decorated to suit the wearer’s taste.
The theme of this year’s CDOA celebration was “Building Community for Tomorrow’s Leaders”.
Ontario Fairness Commissioner Jean Augustine delivered the feature address in which she indentified some steps for creating youth leaders while the CDOA presented an Award of Appreciation to former president Frances Delsol for outstanding leadership that helped to raise the organization’s profile.
Delsol, the president of the recently formed Council of Caribbean Associations (Canada), has been with the organization for 30 years. She was the president from 2004-2008.
The current executive comprises first Wob Dwiyet winner Veronica Jubenot-Shillingford (president), Eddie Rodney (vice-president), Brenda James (secretary), Lorraine Delsol (treasurer), Hetty Lawrence (membership director) and Zisker Mills (fundraising chair).
The first Wob Dwiyet show took place two years ago.