Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Rise and Rise of Jourdan Dunn

British Vogue February 2015
This year British Jourdan Dunn becomes the first black model in 12 years to feature on a British Vogue cover (- although did appear on the cover in 2008 along with Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Eden Clark). The last was Naomi (natch), in 2002. Fabulous for her - but also depressing that it's taken this long.
British Vogue October 2012
Jourdan was discovered in 2006 aged 17 mucking about in Primark in London by Storm Management (shades of Kate Moss). I first read about her a few years ago in a British Vogue article about working mums & was impressed with her candor and strength when talking about getting pregnant at 18 and raising her son as a single mum whilst an aspiring model.
Jourdan Dunn & Riley, Twitter
"My boyfriend was there for the birth and then went to prison for a year, so I really needed the support of my family. Riley had his first crisis at about six months. I was so glad to have my mum with me. I went back to work after nine months - I didn't feel any pressure to go back quickly, and when I did everyone was really supportive...More than anything, having a son has made me realise I have to make shit work: I'm his voice, I'm his lifeline, I have to be driven. I think he pushed me in the right direction. I've always been ambitious, but now I have more focus. I'm more hardworking." British Vogue 2012
Photographed by Boo George, British Vogue, August 2013
Her son Riley was born with sickle cell anaemia. 'The London-born beauty wants to use her high-profile position to raise awareness of the disorder and supports the Sickle Cell Society through fundraising and charity events. "It's something people don't really know about, due to the fact it's genetic, so it doesn't have the high profile of HIV or malaria," explained Dunn. "Riley looks like a normal boy, but I can't get away from the fact that he has a serious disease." Dunn says that she is able to balance modeling with motherhood relatively easily - recalling a Victoria's Secret shoot she did while still breastfeeding. "They set up a little curtained area for me to use the breast pump," she told Sunday Times Style. "Not very glamorous, but ultimately, I'm a mother first then a model, and generally the industry is really supportive. This is a good career for a working mother." British Vogue 2012
Jourdan Dunn & Riley, Vogue article 
Jourdan has appeared in multiple shows and editorials including Burberry, Balmain, Calvin Klein, Versace, Stella McCartney, Tom Ford, Oscar de la Renta, Alexander Wang, Diane von Furstenberg and TopShop plus became a Victoria Secret angel as well as cosmetic brands YSL Beauty and Maybelline. In 2008 Jourdan was the first black model to walk for Prada in over 10 years (since Naomi Campbell). She was however allegedly fired from Dior in 2013: "Ahahahahahaha I just [got] cancelled from Dior because of my boobs! I❤ fashion #Couture" - "I'm normally told I'm cancelled because I'm 'colored' so being cancelled because off (sic) my boobs is a minor" she explained via Twitter.
I love her 2011 Burberry shots (below). Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey said of casting Jourdan in 2011 "We wanted to create a dynamic campaign that reflects the diversity of our broad global consumer, revealing new British cast members each month, all with their own identity, embodying the different attitudes of the Burberry guy and girl. We shot on Brighton beach to celebrate the great British outdoors and our history of supporting emerging talent and to bring to life the emotion behind protection from the elements." 

With Sacha M'Baye in her first Burberry campaign, 2011 by Mario Testino 

Rocking the catwalk for Victoria's Secret
In the last year she has seemed to blow up everywhere as part of the latest Brit model it crowd, including Cara & Poppy Delevingne, Clara Paget, Georgia May Jagger and Suki Waterhouse.

Jourdan & Cara
She also appeared in Beyonce's video for Yonce, along with Joan Smalls and Chanel Iman.
And if all of this wasn't enough to keep her busy, Jourdan also has her own cooking show (Well Dunn with Jourdan Dunn) on YouTube! "It is my main priority to make sure I can cook a nice home-cooked meal for my son.  Perhaps this is owing to her fond childhood memories cooking with her grandmother where she was “mesmerized by how she would move her way through the kitchen [when creating her] experimental, spontaneous, but always perfect dishes.”
Now with Jourdan's appearance on British Vogue there has been quite a lot of media buzz, given that Naomi Campbell was their last black cover model - 12 long years ago. In September 2013 Naomi, Iman and Bethann Hardison wrote an open letter to British Vogue, urging them to acknowledge this disparity.  "No matter the intention, the result is racism. Not accepting another based on the colour of their skin is clearly beyond aesthetic." Jourdan has also been vocal about her struggles as a black model in the industry, admitting to have been rejected from shows as they didn't want "any more black girls" she said in an interview last year.
"I want to talk about what goes on. A lot of people are scared to speak up. The people who control the industry … say if you have a black face on a magazine cover it won't sell, but there's no real evidence for that. It's lazy." The Guardian, 2008
At London Fashion Week, 2014
I have to say though, she is looking a little too rail thin lately? Still, I guess that's the pressure you are under with the fashion world's spotlight on you, sad but true. Ironically, she mentions being curvy in the latest British Vogue. This obviously added to the pressure to remain super thin. "It's hard being a model regardless, and then being a black model. I have heard, 'Oh, we haven't shown any black models this season.' So blasé... It's messed up," she says. "I get uncomfortable when I read comments saying, 'I wanna look like you, I wish I had your body.' When I was growing up I didn't love myself, or like what I saw in the mirror. Curves are celebrated in Caribbean culture, so I felt the odd one out. So my message is: be happy and love yourself."
This year Jourdan features in her 4th Burberry campaign, this time with Naomi Campbell. She is also one of the faces of Burberry Beauty. "Burberry is such an iconic brand and I feel very proud to be a part of their campaign and their team. This campaign is even more special for me because I was shot with Naomi Campbell for the first time - someone who I admire and respect within the fashion industry." British Vogue 2014

More fab covers and editorials...
 i-D Magazine, September 2008
With Chanel Iman, Sessilee Lopez & Arlenis Sosa for i-D September 2009
i-D with Karlie Kloss, Spring 2011

i-D 2013 

UK Vogue October 2012
British Vogue UK Olympic Fashion Shoot, September 2012
Vogue US February 2013
Vogue Spain, February 2013
GQ Mexico July 2013

Allure USA July 2013

Free People 2014 campaign 
 In Zuhair Murad, 2014 GQ Men of the Year Awards in London
MTV VMAs 2014
Jourdan Dunn for Garage Magazine Fall/Winter 2014

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