As a child raised in Santa Cruz in the parish of St. Elizabeth, I always had a wild imagination. I had what can be classified as “the imaginary friends syndrome.” Usually I played different career roles. At first, because my mother was a teacher, in my mind I became one. Had my own classroom, in fact my own school. Later, teaching became dull and I imagined myself as a veterinarian, but true veterinarians had to master the sciences, which was not my forte and so I considered becoming a reporter. Of course by then, my imaginary friends outgrew me and naturally I parted ways.
So it was decided, I was going to be a journalist. Somehow the reporter/journalist I envisioned wasn’t like what I saw on my local tele. I was more intrigued by how the Americans handled things and that’s when I knew I wanted to venture beyond Jamaica. Still I never saw it possible and didn’t know how.
One day, I pounced upon a programme called “Profile,” featuring the late Madge Sinclair and was so impressed that a Jamaican was making waves in Hollywood that I immediately realized my dreams no longer had to be limited to my country. I then quietly vowed that I would be above average, if not someone great.
I convinced my parents to allow me, their youngest, to study abroad. After Manchester High School I received a scholarship to study at Albion College in Michigan, and gladly attended with the secret desire to pursue acting myself. I figured the closer I was to America, the closer I would be to achieving my goal. During College my interest in journalism faded and my friends encouraged me to consider a modelling career and though initially I was hesitant, I took it more seriously in my final year when I realized my collegiate journey was ending.
|A happy Albion College Grad.|
I travelled to New York and stayed with my brother, attended the open calls of some of the different agencies and I received a million nos. Nonetheless I made use of my work permit and received my first job at Macy’s in Herald Square, Juniors Department, utterly dissatisfied with the way my life was unfolding. I had a BA degree in Communications and there I was working in a retail store, failing at my new found passion to become a high-fashion model. Eventually, I signed up with a temp agency and secured a few fleeting jobs. The most memorable was working as a receptionist at the showroom for Donna Karan New York. Worst job ever! It was grossly mundane as all I did was sit at an empty desk, stationed directly before the elevators, with a clipboard and greeted people as they entered, while hearing the same promo video over and over again. I literally wanted to shoot myself in the foot. This was supposed to be a two week stint, but on the third day I called my temp agency declaring that I was leaving the job. They coaxed me to stay and I did, but I watched insufferably as models tried on clothes for perspective buyers, wishing it was me.
Things changed when I received a paid internship in a Public Relations firm. I decided that if I wasn’t modelling, I should at least be working in my field of interest. I gladly left Macy’s and worked at the firm for a month. Shortly after I received a job offer as PR Assistant to another PR firm, but unfortunately I faced another stumbling block...my permit was about to expire. Two and half months later I packed my bags and went home, quite dejected, convinced my dreams were shattered. However, God worked mysteriously providing an opportunity for me to pursue modelling when I returned home to Jamaica.
While I endured my nine-to-five at Edna Manley College as the Publications Research Officer, I joined a local model agency to prepare myself for the bigger picture. Soon I discovered that I needed to be more vigilant than the agency and decided to aggressively pursue my passion without them. In 2008 I resigned from the College, got in shape, revamped my look, and revisited New York.
For two years I travelled back and forth between Jamaica and New York praying for a breakthrough. Even with the physical upgrade I was still told no, but it was my life, my dream, so I kept on trying. I connected with a few photographers and received a few test shoots to build my portfolio. Finally a young photographer discovered me on a model site, took pictures of me and got me interviews with agencies like Elite, Red and Basic. Still, I was told “no” for various reasons.
The said photographer referred me to a booker who started a new agency. After meeting with him, he decided to work with me and sent me on my first casting. I wasn’t chosen, but I learned later that it was a casting for the first season of “Models of the Runway.” The agent/booker eventually parted ways with his agency and joined forces with Boss and brought me over, boosting my modelling career.