There's something about Shelly: TV anchor Shelly Dass tells how faith gives her life that extra 'something'
by Marcia Henville
A beautiful woman wearing a black trouser suit and carrying a Coco Chanel handbag struts into Trotters restaurant-her poise the epitome of elegance. She slips into the seat next to mine at the table, takes out her pink Razr mobile phone and adjusts it, settling herself to be interviewed.
Except that a slick, high roller, seated at the table next to ours, espies her, and simply has to come over. It turns out he's a longtime suitor whose many advances Shelly Dass, news anchor and producer for Trinidad and Tobago's Cable News Channel 3, has gently rebuffed.
Dass spends a lot of time rebuffing men's advances.
The high roller wants to try again anyway. The Cartier pen he flashes in front of us does nothing to turn the news anchor's head.
Shelly Dass ranks among the elite of broadcast journalists. However, she stumbled onto journalism's path. After leaving St Joseph's Convent, San Fernando, where she sat O' and A' Levels, she was supposed to do her LLB and become a lawyer. But she didn't have the temperament for all that hard work, she said, and wanted to go abroad to study. Being the last child and only girl of her parents' three children, their decision to allow her to fly away to a foreign land for three years seems brave.
"My mother said if I want to go abroad to study then she would send me somewhere that was in the middle of nowhere."
That somewhere was Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma, USA.
"Because it was a private Christian university, my parents thought I'd be safe. I was really happy-I wanted my independence. I was always the youngest in my year at school, so I have always been very protected. I wanted to spread my wings."
Going abroad also meant changing career plans. Her mother, a teacher, suggested she study broadcasting: "I didn't care one way or the other," Shelly said.
However, broadcast journalism turned out to be an excellent choice. "It was so exciting!" she exclaimed fervently.
Coming back home, Shelly thought life would continue to be a blast. She decided she would laze around for a while before deciding on her next move; her mother decided otherwise.
"She told me I needed to get a job. So I called TV6 and said, ‘Hi, can I get a job?' Shelly was not serious.
"Sunity Maharaj had answered the phone and said, ‘You want what?!'
But then, the shock of shocks: "She told me to come and see her the next day. By the following week I was co-hosting Morning Edition with Paolo Kernahan!"
Sunity became mother and mentor to the green Dass.
"She took me under her wings and taught me everything I know." They are still close to this day. Shelly left TV6 when she got an offer to work with a "network".