The Extraordinaire Sakina Deer

Mother, singer, dancer, TV Personality, YouTuber and new entrepreneur, Sakina Deer does it all.

The now certified make-up artist and lash-technician has added a new business venture to her list of accomplishments with a beauty bar set to open in Kingston, Jamaica at the end of August 2020. Her hope is to grow this new venture into an enterprise where she can hire people to work for her and focus on teaching what she knows. So, what else do we need to know about this day-time diva and quintuple threat? I decided to pry and share more of her life with you.

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Q. Most people do not like to share their age, but you’re not ‘most’ people so, how old are you?

A. I’m a mature 50-year-old in a 36-year-old woman’s body.

Q. Which schools did you attend and what was your major in college?

A. I went to St. Peter and Paul Prep School on a scholarship. After which, I was blessed enough to attend THE Most Fabulous Girls school that has ever existed. The Immaculate Conception High School.

Then, I went to UWI/UTech, studied Medical Technology, but didn’t complete the course as I took a Leave of Absence and went to find work.

Q. Were you a good student?

A. I was an excellent student! Okay. That’s a lie. I couldn’t even say that with a straight face. Ahm, no. My prep school reports came home repeatedly each term with the same critique: “Sakina talks too much.” I was, however, very good at English (guess that came from practising it so much with the chatting). I loved Science and was quite good at that too (which I supposed is what fooled me into thinking I could have been a doctor), but I totally ignored the very important fact that I sucked at Math. Honestly though, I wasn’t a bad student overall — just easily bored outside of the subjects I liked. I was on the student council too, but I was very distracted by many different things at the tertiary level. Travelling with Father Holung and friends being one of them.

  

Q. How did you become a part of Father Holung and Friends?

A. I was asked to audition for the group when I was in 3rd form at Immaculate. They discovered that I could sing because I sang at Catholic Mass. That audition basically began my love affair with theatre. I did a play called Jesus 2000 with the group and found myself travelling all over the United States and other parts of the world. Then, one night, someone encouraged me to go see The Lion King on Broadway. Oh my Lord! Keesh! The spectacle, the music, the wonder of it all!! I remember bawling like an idiot that night. I couldn’t get the show out of my head. Fast forward to a couple years later, Mike Daley, Jenny Stephenson and Robin Baston who were involved with Father Holung and Jamaica Musical Theatre encouraged me to audition for The Wiz, which was the upcoming production at the time. This was the 3rd or 4th time they pushed, so I went. I auditioned and I was sure I sucked, but I was shocked as hell when I heard I was given the lead. I alternated with actress, Danielle Stibelle, and that’s where Jamaican playwright, Basil Dawkins saw me and invited me to audition for his play. I got that role and as they say the rest is pretty much history.

At first, I tried balancing a day job with acting, but it became pointless. Theatre is a greedy, needy husband and it fought and took its rightful place as my only love.

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Q. Now, it’s time to get beyond the surface stuff. You ready?

A. Shoot.

Q. We were chatting once, and you shared a story about your father not being a part of your be-ing. Would you mind recounting it?

A. I was at Utech, needed to pay tuition and he came around claiming to want to be a part of my life. I met him properly for the first time (I had seen him once or twice as a child. I have vague memories of that. Vague to the point where sometimes I wonder if I imagined them). He promised to send tuition; it never came. So, to avoid being de-registered, I took that Leave of Absence from university.

Q. How does it feel not having a father in your life?

A. For a period of time, I was ashamed of it.

  

Q. Why?

A. I’m a part of a group of friends who all grew up knowing and having a relationship with their fathers. On Father’s Day, I’d see them posting pictures and I would wonder why Lewin Deer wasn’t around. And yes, I know it’s not the worst thing that can happen to a person. Yes, I’m aware that persons lose entire families and suffer irreparable damage to mind and body. However, on days like today, when you ask questions like this, it makes me realise that even though I’ve had many father figures, I still feel this — hole — this empty feeling in my gut, and I have to admit that it still bothers me.

It bothers me because …

A. Because it’s a father’s job to make his little girl feel loved, protected, and beautiful. To treat her like a princess. He’s supposed to be the template for a girl’s husband/partner. He’s supposed to let her know what to expect from a real man, show her what chivalry looks like in how he treats his wife, her mother, his mother or any other woman in his life. So, what happens when that is missing? That space goes empty. That hole goes unfilled. We end up with women who are insecure. Women who don’t know how to tap into their own strength. Women who rely on others for validation.

Probably the worst part is that we don’t know how to recognise and accept love. Until that’s dealt with, until those of us who are affected in this way, deal with those deep-seated, heart-rooted issues, we’ll just be walking around ‘holey’, incomplete versions of ourselves; not ever giving our best because we ourselves aren’t even sure what our best is.

Q. If you saw him now, what would you say to him?

A. I guess I would say Happy Father’s Day. That half of my genetic make-up, that part of myself that I barely even know, is uniquely his. So, I would say, thank you for the chromosomes. I’ve heard my bowlegs, the cheekbones and the shape I have comes from you. You’ve taught me that life goes on, the world will keep spinning with or without a father in my life.

Q. Did mommy support as it relates to pursuing your dreams?

A. My mum was, and still is, my biggest fan. I hate the word fan — just using it for the expression. When most of the other academia-oriented people in my family thought I was wasting my time and life with this “acting thing”, she stayed up with me into the wee hours of the night while I rehearsed. So yeah, mommy supported every aspect of my journey.

Q. Which one do you prefer, being an actress or being a media personality?

  

A. Actress! Being a media personality is cool, but it’s mostly been a learning curve thus far. I love theatre and thoroughly enjoy the fact that it offers me a chance to escape and be someone else each night. You truly can`t beat that.

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Q. Tell me one thing about you that people would be surprised to know you can do?

A. People may be surprised to know that I did gymnastics up to a point in high school.

Q. What’s your greatest struggle to date?

A. Dealing with my own insecurities, lack of confidence, fear of failure. Those are everyday struggles.

Q. What’s your greatest accomplishment?

A. I don’t know yet. It hasn’t happened yet. I have a long way to go. Being a mother though is awesome. I wouldn’t say that it is an accomplishment, but it’s the one thing outside of acting that brings me much joy.

Q. Tell me three things on your bucket list that you will regret not doing.

A. Doing the Lion King on Broadway. Seeing the World/Travelling. Wow, I really should give some thought to this bucket list thing. I think Lion King and travelling are the only two so far.

  

Q. People love a good underdog story. A good survival story. A good triumph over trial story — what’s yours?

A. I think my whole life is that story. I am a little girl from the ghetto who is surviving, thriving and triumphing. I’m still in the process of chipping my way out of the stereotypes that I’ve been cemented in for so many years. The girl from less (because I don’t believe I came from nothing). The single mother (who is supposedly condemned to a life of mediocrity). I am not that girl. Check with me in five years. Mek we see just how much chipping I’ve done.

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Play catch up with Sakina on the big screen by watching her in the movie Sprinter .

Or, tune in to TVJ’s Weekend Smile Morning Show.

Or, just head on down to the Little Theatre (please wear your masks and follow all new protocols) and catch her in Patrick Brown’s latest: Windscream Posse.

Subscribe to our WEBSITE to get stories of my experiences as a black woman living in Japan or stories of Jamaicans jaminating a ya’ad & abroad. Email us at [email protected] or follow us on FB & IG.

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Also, much thanks to Sakina for taking time out to share with me. Follow her on IG @sakinadeer or YouTube: Sakina Deer

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