Video Crew Highlights USVI Tourism for Global Market

Sage Stephens and Clare Thurkett of Beautiful Destinations film the Guardians of Culture Moko
Jumbies on the Frederiksted waterfront for a tourism video. (Source photo by Susan Ellis)

A six-person video crew is filming people and places throughout the territory to tell their stories for Brand USA – the marketing organization charged with bringing international tourists to the United States and the Virgin Islands.

On Thursday, Yelena Jeune, Clare Thurkett and Sage Stephens of Beautiful Destinations met several costumed dancers from the Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies troupe on the Frederiksted waterfront and filmed, with a drone, still and video cameras, the stilt walkers doing what they do best – dancing. Beautiful Destinations is a company that creates digital content under contract for the marketing branch of U.S. Tourism.

“We promote travel through the stories of those who have been there,” Jeune said.

The film crew spent time with Chef Digby Stridiron at his restaurant, Wednesday, and showcased the St.Croix native’s story and his skills transforming locally grown produce into fine dining.

And, Tuesday, Jeune and her crew filmed Nereida Rivera O’Reilly, former Virgin Islands senator, with her new enterprise – Sonya’s Ltd, the jewelry store that created the original hook bracelet and has been making silver and gold jewelry for more than 40 years.

From Dec. 6 to 8, the crew from Beautiful Destinations will travel St. John looking for individual stories and photo ops and will do the same on St. Thomas from Dec. 9 to 11.

The final spots will be two minutes, 30 seconds and 45 seconds long and will cover 24 hours in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Finn Partners of New York is also involved in the project. A public relations agency that specializes in brand recognition, Finn’s Phillip Novoa said the company is responsible for the global public relations strategy for Brand USA. He described this project as an exploration of the past, and a look at the present and the future of the territory.

According to Novoa, St. Croix represents the past, “big and mighty, historically and culturally rich” seen through the forging of the hook bracelet. St John is the “quaint and iconic” present offering outdoor adventures with a seasoned diver, Lisa Homsy, photographer and lifestyle content creator from Canada.

And St. Thomas is “everyone’s favorite go-to island quickly becoming the new melting pot of the U.S.,” Novoa wrote in an email.

The finished video spots, part of Brand USA’s United Stories series, can be viewed digitally on social media and should premiere on and and YouTube sometime in February, according to Jeune.