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Building a family legacy of mas
Even before this, Eustace was no stranger to the royal court as his famous family has been part of the King of Carnival competition since his late father, Tedder Eustace, first won the title in 1975, and then again in 1978 and 1985.
His older brother, Curtis, has held the title nine times and his other brother, Marcus designs and builds the costumes for the family. For 2017 the father of two is aiming to keep his title for at least another year.
Tell us about your early years and what you do today.
I was born on July 7, 1975, in St Augustine. That was the same year my father won the title. The mas camp has always been near or at the house so from the early years, I watched my father take part in King of Carnival and sometimes helped put together his costume. In 1998 I began working for BWIA and from 2006 to present, I have been with Caribbean Airlines as an aircraft engineer.
Which schools did you attend—primary, secondary, other?
I went to St Joseph RC School as a boy then graduated to St Augustine Senior Secondary and finally studied at Centennial College in Canada, where I graduated as an engineer.
What was your first paying job?
My first paying job was working at a paper factory in Canada over the summer while I completed my studies.
What are the plans for you and family for Carnival 2017?
For Carnival 2017 I look forward to recapturing the throne by bringing alive the true spirit of Carnival in my mas.
What is your favourite thing about Carnival?
My favourite thing about Carnival is the array of colours used to portray mas and the vast diversity of people that come from all walks of life to participate in our wondrous cultural event called Carnival.
What is your greatest accomplishment in Carnival other than winning the Carnival 2016 king title?
Being a part of the Eustace legacy which includes bringing home 14 King of Carnival titles over the years.
How long did it take to build your 2016 winning costume?
It took three months to build.
Who/what has influenced/inspired you the most, with regard to your Carnival involvement?
My family is my only inspiration.
What is your recipe for success?
A close knit and supportive family, loyal friends, and a passion for the mas is what I think has made me successful. Of course, I have to mention in particular my brother Marcus Eustace, Terrance (Crackers) Stephens, Kevin Robinson, the Narine family, Ronald Choo, and Vido.
How would you describe yourself?
Hmmm, that I am fun, spontaneous, love children, love having a good time and entertaining. My hobbies include deep sea fishing and spear fishing.
What would you say you do to bring your costumes to life on stage?
On stage I let the music take over and become one with the costume, but I also draw on my engineering experience for pneumatics, lighting, and fireworks to ensure the costume is appealing and dynamic.
Of all the times you have been a ‘king of the band’, which would you say was your best experience and why?
My best experience was winning the 2016 title because I was at third place in the semis and I pushed myself to win and actually achieving that goal is still amazing to me.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Expect the best, be prepared for the worst, [email protected]#$ what others think, and do your best. Work hard and appreciate the help of others. You are your greatest champion so work hard to be the best you can be.
What is the most difficult decision you have ever had to make?
I had to choose between migrating to Canada and staying in Trinidad to build my career and Carnival. Of course, I chose T&T and Carnival.
What would you say is your greatest virtue?
I would have to say leadership. I pride myself in being able to work with the team to accomplish our goals and have fun while doing it.
What daily motto do you live by?
“Live life to the fullest.” I aim to be an exemplar to the younger people especially and to help to motivate them to always work hard toward their dreams by being consistent and the best they can be as no goal is unattainable.
What goals do you still have?
I plan on furthering my career in aviation and retaining the title of king in 2017. I will continue to represent T&T through the strategic design of my mas and the beautiful history and story behind the costumes. For this to be achieved I believe that a well-oiled team, where everyone knows their role in producing the king costume is essential.
Your favourite calypso/soca songs?
My favourite song of all time is: It’s Carnival by Destra Garcia and Machel Montano. It is a synopsis of what I see Carnival as, being free to enjoy and share our culture.
Describe yourself in two words, one beginning with T, the other with E, your initials.
I would say…Talented for ‘T’ and Exemplar for ‘E’.
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