When you meet Martine E. Antoine, you have no idea why, but you’d want her on your side. Sitting in front of me in a journalism class, wearing her chocolate and lavender Nike dunks and Prada glasses, you would think that she was your average Nassau Community College student, but Martine, hair wrapped back in a black bandanna, exposing no hair, has been schooled in more than just this dull, white, classroom we now sit in. She’s been up and down the east coast, surrounded by high-security law officials and the likes of celebrities and, thanks to her intuition, is proud of her past and ready for the next phase of her life. Sit down with her for a minute, and those stark white classrooms begin to bloom with army fatigue camo and pink and fuzzy things all at the same time, and that’s a little like the road petite Martine has traveled thus far.
Martine, 27, and multi-lingual (she speaks French, Creole, English and knows American Sign Language), is now is beginning to slow down a little, or at least it appears that way, with her laid-back cool attitude. By slow down, she means taking two morning courses (including a photography course where she is royally annoyed that she has to purchase expensive materials) and working as an operator for an answering service that manages to help people flush their toilet or save their life, whichever the person happens to be calling for. Two big companies she answers for is Drain-O plumbing company and Long Island Jewish Hospital. When asked how she handles calls from doctors requesting the rest of their operating team to be at the O.R. the next morning, she acts just as if, in fact, somebody was just calling for a leaky toilet. What ever is up, Martine will be the one to solve the problem.
Growing up, Martine was the little sister (four years younger to be exact) but always felt as if the roles were reversed. “It’s like I was the young sister and she was the older sister.” She recalls one time, in 1st grade, when a boy was bothering her sister and she stepped to the boy demanding he stop picking on her fourth grade sister. When asked about her relationship to her sister, she claims that they are not necessarily close, perhaps, because Martine felt like she was living in her sister’s shadow, in a way. They both attended the same elementary school and then Cathedral High School, an all girls Catholic High School in Manhattan. Martine hated her high school because it was all girls, but learned how to deal with it anyway.
Although the two sisters never did anything wrong and always got good grades, she says that her parents were still always strict. Martine says that she was not allowed to have friends over the house until after she came home from college. She also says thatshe will probably not be as strict as her parents were even though the rigidity at home didn’t seem to bother the two sisters too much. This possibly added to the focus Martine attained due to the structure provided by her parents.
During college, she was recruited for the National Guard. She wanted to get scholarship money. She was, what she calls, a “weekend warrior,” where you go to train one weekend a month. Eventually, however, she was deployed to Maryland where she felt like a security guard, when she was actually being a guard for Homeland Security. When she entered the National Guard, the “war” in Iraq didn’t exist yet, and she didn’t think there was any chance of her going to war. She equated going to war to the “getting hit by a car” analogy—how it could happen at any time, but you wouldn’t be able to prevent it. She could have been deployed to Iraq later on when it went on, but was not. Martine, at first, when asked, said she had no opinion on Iraq and claimed she didn’t want to talk about, but then finally opened up. “We’re sending out young under-qualified, under-trained kids who didn’t have the proper time to learn how to shoot a gun properly.” She claims that they are only tested once annually with their weapons, and according to her experience (FYI–she can hit all of her targets) that some of these kids can’t, have to go back to training, and are oftentimes still deployed. “I hate the whole situation.”
When she got home, four years ago, she moved back to Cambria Heights with her family. She interned for Interscope/Geffen records, for five months, where she worked in Urban Promotions, which she proves is so much cooler than working with the street team! “No way!! They really have to bust their ass!! They have some serious stuff!” She had much more responsibility than them it seems, getting important information to her execs about the next single about to drop which led into her next internship. She worked as an intern for The Wendy William’s Experience, for six months, where she was also known as Esther (her alias while Wendy would talk about her on the air.) These jobs have led her to definitely want a career in being a publicist or sports agent. If she could be a publicist for any celebrity, she would choose Oprah, one of her idols.
So, when Antoine finally enters the work force, she’ll be able to maintain order as a result of the experiences that she takes with her. Which ever path Antoine chooses, which also includes going back to Hofstra in the fall for additional classes, she will continue to be relied on and able to get the job done, even if it’s just giving some advice to her (now 31 year old) big sister.