IT was 1972 when pretty Trinidadian model became the face of Jamaica, and an international sensation, for her work on a Jamaican tourism promotion.
Sintra Arunte (now Bronté) was selected after the Jamaican Tourist Board and an American advertising company failed to find what they were originally looking for – a Jamaican-Chinese with a particular bust size.
The then Jamaican Tourism Minister Anthony Abrahams (1970-75) put it this way: “At this time, there was a wave of interest and curiosity about China. So we had an idea that we would do an ad with a Jamaican-Chinese girl.. And it would establish the idea that the exotic East is also here in Jamaica.”
He said the creative team “had the idea of a Chinese girl with huge boobs in a t-shirt, and I thought it was a marvelous idea”.
The problem, however, was that they could not find a Chinese-Jamaican with the specified physical attributes.
Abrahams explained, “After about two weeks, they came back and said ‘we haven’t been able to find a Chinese girl in Jamaica with the huge boobs that we want to find but we have found an Indian…and the other problem is that she is a Trinidadian’.”
Abrahams admitted that he was reluctant to use a Trinidadian for a Jamaican tourism promotion, but a photo of Sintra made him change his mind right away.
He said, “When I looked at that picture, I said: ‘Boy, if she is not Jamaican she is good enough to be one’.”
The rest is history.
Photographer Doyle Dane spent 7 1/2 hours shooting pictures until he captured Sintra emerging from the water with a wet, red t-shirt clinging to her body.
The poster was a hit and sold out across the globe. Copies now grace the walls of airports, Jamaica Tourist Board offices worldwide, hotel lobbies and travel agencies internationally.
The poster is still a collectors item
A boat owned by a wealthy Montegonian, John McConnell, was named after the Trinidadian beauty, so too was a race horse and, in 2008, a Swiss company named one of the watches from the Rado line, Sintra.
At a cost of US$2,000 the watch can be bought in a number of inbond stores in Jamaica, including Royal Shop and Swiss stores.
Other than what she was paid for the day’s job, Sintra never received any royalties.
Sintra eventually remained from the spotlight.
She married businessman William Bronte. Together, they ran a destination management company, AJM Tours, Arnos Vale hotel, Waterwheel Restaurant, and bought two 60-seater passenger aircraft to operate private flights between Tobago and Trinidad.
Last month, Sintra was returned to contemporary pop culture when American singer Alicia Keys recreated the poster and shared a photo of herself on Instagram doing Sintra’s pose in the famous poster.
Within hours, the post attracted thousands of likes. Many people expressed amazement at how stunning Keys looked.