Christopher Goodridge is the type of individual who tries anything that comes to mind and finds some amount of success, but he has spent the last decade of his life following the wrong dreams, until now.
The hip, fashion-conscious choreographer, former model and now realtor whose signature dreads never seem to loose that sexiness, silently bowed out of the local pageant scene where much of his energies had been directed for about ten years to pursue a passion for writing. He now has a sole focus or as he puts it, “my one true dream” of writing a book.
His reputation locally as a trainer and choreographer is solid, and nearly all of the noteworthy queens Guyana has seen within the last seven years have passed through his hands. He personally worked with the likes of Olive Gopaul, Odessa Philips, Alexis Glasgow and Candace Franklin, all national queens.
Though he is not as active in the field any more, and has been away from Guyana for some time now, Chris had a pep talk with the reigning Miss Guyana World, Candace Charles, before she winged off for the December 1 Miss World pageant. According to him, she is a little sparkle who could surprise people if she stays true to herself.
But as he sees it, Guyana is far from producing an international queen. From his experience and recent travels, Chris said the women who are recognised at global beauty pageants are not deluded into believing the physical is all that is required.
“Guyanese women selected as ambassadors need to have more than a pretty face and a body; they must have personality and intellect and must be able to stay true to who they are, because people see beyond the artificial,” he said.
Chris, as he is affectionately called by the many who know him, burst onto the local scene back in 1996 when he decided to try modelling. His break came when he auditioned for designer Dercyk Moore and was afforded the opportunity to train as a model.
A few weeks after the newfound modelling status, Chris made it into Stabroek News’ style page. He cherishes the debut even now by holding onto a newspaper clipping from back in 1996 of a young and unassuming Chris.
He later started his own modelling agency, but a few months after, that dream ended. Chris revealed that he has ventured into many areas and tried whatever came to mind or felt right at the time. According to him, a desire to live life his own way consumed him for a number of years and he never fought it.
During his years of struggling to identify with a certain career he found a home in local show business. He said working with young women and grooming them for a greater good is something he had always enjoyed and now misses.
In painting a picture of who he is, Chris said complexity best described his character. After starting several businesses and later being forced to walk away from everyone, including a company which he said assisted single parent women to get jobs, Chris said he needed a break and one day just gave it all up. For about six months he concentrated on himself and spent time doing introspection and reflecting on his past in an effort to shape a better future.
He said much of the work he did as a pageant trainer and choreographer was praised, but many persons had no idea who he was and what he looked like because he was more of a ‘back-burner’ person. The name was known, he said, but the man was basically non-existent.
While on a time-out from everything in his life he received spiritual enlightenment. Chris said he spent time with a friend who was rehabilitated during a period of incarceration and had the most spiritual experience. Shortly after, he found himself writing without fail and even now he writes every day, almost every hour.
He scribbles on anything close by and is surrounded by numerous scratchpads in his Queenstown apartment. During the interview with The Scene, he was scribbling as he spoke. It is as if the writing bewitched him and he is no longer in control.
One of his most loved pieces is a poem he did for his mother Desiree Jackson. He called it, Mother of my birth.
Mother of my birth in your vein blood runs deep, like waters of the river Nile.
Through your soul you produce life, like the forest of the Amazon.
Mother of my birth out of your veins streams love as valuable as the treasures of this earth.
Mother of my birth – you have always been there through all my thick and thin.
Mother of my birth you live your whole life for the fruits of your womb.
Mother of my birth for me you would do anything.
Mother of my birth you shelter me from the storm for as long as you can.
Mother of birth you’ve given me life, personality, care and guidance.
Mother of my birth you are the giver of my soul.
Mother of birth you have faced the weathers and the storms.
Mother of my birth you watch my back even when I was going astray.
Mother of my birth you are my queen.
Much of his work takes on the same passionate tone whether it is about life, love or something he cares about. He said a friend of his in the UK who works at a publishing company has agreed to take on his book when he is finished and have it published. He said much of his work is unedited and would first have to undergo this process.
As far as his earlier life goes, Chris said, he has roots in Mahaicony and Buxton but he grew up in Melanie, East Coast Demerara before moving to the city to settle. He worked for some years at the National Insurance Scheme before leaving to pursue a modelling career.
Chris said when he left Guyana several months ago for the UK many probably wrote him off, but his story is far from over. He said the book is all that he is working on right now and he has since amassed a collection of over 50 stories and additional quotes. He said the book would be called The Awakening since he hopes to wake up whatever is dead within every individual person who reads it when it is out.
With his fingers crossed he is hoping everything goes as planned.