You should recognise Erin from her gorgeous shots in our bikinis around the BVI but have you ever wondered what life is really like in the Caribbean?!
With a mum from St Thomas, USVI and a dad from Hamilton, Scotland you could say she international but her heart lies in the BVI where she was born nearly 23 years ago.
Her family business is the world famous Willy T, the best floating bar in world but despite it being a huge part of her life she's made her own way, studying in the States and creating her own career path!
When did your family move to the BVI?
My mum moved to Tortola when she was 12 (all the way from St. Thomas, USVI!) and my dad moved to Cooper Island in 1982.
What are you up to in life at the moment?
Right now I am on winter break sitting on a balcony in the Bahamas drinking a cold Corona. In life I am currently a senior (graduating in May!) studying Applied Psychology and Human Development with a concentration in Working with Special Needs at Boston College. As well as studying, I work at a school for 3-21 year olds with multiple, severe disabilities and plan to get my Masters in Severe Disabilities and work with children both with and without special needs.
What’s your best childhood memory growing up in the BVI?
This is definitely a difficult question, but if I had to choose just one I would have say that my best memory would have to be the adventures I had with friends at Nanny Cay (a marina on Tortola). No matter what, you could always find a group of us there causing mayhem. We used to build forts in the mangroves and Kayak through the little water ways, catch and eat fish, have clay fights, and swing into the water with our home made swing. Whatever you can think of we did it. We always found something new and fun to do in Nanny Cay. We used to snorkel the reef just off of the beach, jump off of the bridge, bike everywhere and fish under the bridge with our tiny hand reels. I feel really fortunate to have grown up not only in the BVI, but also in a generation where iPads and phones weren’t available or accessible. We just learned to explore and be adventurous on our own. I will always cherish my upbringing in the BVI.
What’s does a normal day in the BVI look like for you?
I don’t think there is such thing as a normal day in the BVI! Whenever I am home it's usually for vacation from school at the moment, so that means I try to cram in as much fun as I can. I am either doing a day trip to Jost Van Dyke, tanning on the beach, catching up with friends at lunch or crazy nights out, or helping my dad out at his bar, The Willy T. You can always find something fun to do and there is always someone to do it with.
What's the best thing about living on an island?
Having lived in a couple of cities, I think I have realized that one of the best things about living on an island is the ‘chill’ lifestyle. I rarely stress when I am at home because the lifestyle isn’t as fast paced and crazy as it is elsewhere. Likewise, because of the small population, the community that has been created is something that I am so proud to be a part of. No matter where you go you always bump into someone you know and someone is always available to help you when needed. It just feels like being a part of an extended family. Everyone loves one another, helps one another, and comes together in times of need.
What's the worst?
Things aren’t as easily accessible as they are in other parts of the world and it takes a little longer and is usually harder to get things that may be needed. Also because of the ‘chill’ lifestyle that I mentioned as a plus, sometimes service is a little slow and maybe even too relaxed. The small community also means that knowing the right people can benefit you, so when you don’t know the right people you may struggle a little.
Where's your favourite place in the BVI?
Everywhere! (haha). On a serious note I would have to say my favourite place in the BVI is the bridge on Anegada. My dad, brothers and I would go fishing there on family trips when I was really little, so every time I go back it's very nostalgic.
What's the best "locals" hangout?
It used to be The Cab before hurricane Irma hit. No matter what night it was you could always find someone you knew there having a drink. You could always rely on The Cab for a good night with good people. Since the hurricane, however, there hasn’t been a specific hangout spot. I think we’re still trying to figure that out!
Has the Willy T always been a part of your life?
Yes. My grandparents on my mother’s side actually started it in 1985 and eventually my dad began running it with them. However, 10 years later in 1995 that boat unfortunately sank. The second one was ‘born’ in 1996 just one month before I was born and was beached during Irma. Our newest boat was brought down around June from Louisiana and is incredible. Having just written this down I have come to realize that no matter happens, whether it be a hurricane or simply sinking, we will always find another Willy T and it will always be a part of our life.
If you had to guess, how many times do you think you’ve jumped off Willy T?
Well, my dad started throwing me off the Willy T when I was 6, so I’ve been jumping off of it for 16 years. Let’s say 500 times!
What does the Willy T mean to you?
Right now it means my tuition (haha!). But in all honesty it’s a pretty big part of my dad’s identity. Without the Willy T I truly have no idea what he would do and how it would impact him and his everyday life. I think my dad will keep the Willy T going until the day he dies (he will never retire!). To me the Willy T is a part of the family. Every single one of my family members who live in the BVI has, at some point in their life, worked on the Willy T for. We have had birthday parties on it, regattas ceremonies, and even gone on family trips there. It’s a pretty sweet spot to let your hair down and forget about everything.
Which is your favourite Corallina Bikini?
I absolutely love the Ginger top and bottoms. They fit so perfectly and I am more comfortable in them than I have been in many other bikinis (and trust me I have had a fair few bikinis in my lifetime). It’s hard to find the right one, so it was nice to finally find something that was comfortable and sexy.
Which is your favourite Corallina print?
I would have to say the Hak Mak print is my favourite. I think the print is gorgeous and really captures the Caribbean!