BitDepth 769 - February 15

The Saucy Diva serves up the hot dish on Carnival daily.
Carnival’s hot Sauce
The blogger only known as Saucy Diva gathers news for her daily postings on in her home workspace. Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.

If you’re a masquerader keen on making a big impact on Carnival Tuesday, I don’t have to tell you who Saucy Diva is. The young blogger writes the go-to resource on the web ( for consumers of what’s politely referred to as “BBF,” the skimpy costumes, bedecked by beads and feathers that have come to dominate the annual festival.

The working wife has managed to keep her anonymity in a country that’s ruthless about finding out who’s doing what, but she doesn’t hide. 
I met the Diva for the first time in June last year when she was gracious enough to allow me to photograph her in her East Trinidad home for the online magazine

The daily blog posts roll in from her mobile phone and from a humble home computer system that’s some distance from the surveillance quality technology that bandleaders must imagine she brings to bear on the business of mas.
Like Waldo, once you know who she is, it’s surprising how obvious her presence is in the many parties and bandlaunches associated with Carnival; otherwise the dedicated blogger just blends in with the partying crowd, one more smile with a wine, but there’s an incisive and contemplative mind behind it.

“I am a Carnival enthusiast who blogs as a hobby,” Saucy Diva wrote in response to e-mailed questions for this column. “I have a day job and if you found out where I work I don’t think you would be too surprised.”
When I was doing a story on Tribe in 2009, I found the band’s executive in a state of astonishment one evening. The scuttlebutt from a board meeting had been reported by the Diva within 24 hours of the decisions being made.

“How,” a clearly befuddled board member was saying, “is she doing this?”
The answer is actually quite simple. As a reporter working a niche of Carnival activity, Saucy Diva is honest, polite and fair in her writing and that attracts people willing to share what they know.

Two years ago, she broke a story that was covered nowhere else. In a carefully constructed narrative, Trinidad Carnival Diary showed photographs of costumes from several bands as they were promoted at the band launch, displayed at the bands’ headquarters and finally, the substandard product in the boxes they were delivered in. It was a remarkable piece of work, the ‘costumegate’ of that year’s Carnival and at least one well-known designer was fired from a major band as a result.

And it isn’t just the reporting. Working with passion and posting 365 days a year on a subject she loves has given the Diva a real way with words. 
In a September 2006 post titled ‘Ten Commandments of Frontline H.O.ism,’ she suggested that befeathered section leaders “Bless all man jack in de place with a deadly but posh cheesecutter wine when yuh pelting waist.”

I’ve been photographing Carnival for more than 20 years now, and I know that move well. Frankly, I don’t have any words that describe it better than “deadly but posh chessecutter wine.” Nobody does. That’s what happens when you live so deeply in something that you become it’s voice.
Since the blog began in August 2006, Trinidad Carnival Diary has logged an astonishing 2.5 million visitors with predictable spikes in January, February, March, as well as July, August and September when bands launch. The site is currently logging 4,000 visitors per day.

The prolific and focused author goes to great lengths to make sure that visitors understand that her opinions are hers and hers alone, but that doesn’t stop vigorous, let’s call them debates, from springing up in her comments sections.
In her work as a blogger, Saucy Diva’s dominance of her superniche offers a remarkable glimpse into the way that media is likely to function in the future as writers build reputation capital in ever narrower specialties that satisfy the needs of their audiences. 

Interview with Saucy Diva
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