Jaunel McKenzie has already been touted as being among the most successful black models, by Ebony magazine in 2008. Years later, she is still intensely and impressively an icon in the global fashion industry–with a reputation comparable to Chanel Iman and Tyra Banks. Titles come and go, but Jaunel has cemented herself as a fashion industry professional, taking on bigger and more influential roles. Partnered with fellow supermodel, Kimanee Wilson, Jaunel has launched FACE, a model development agency.
We recently caught up with Jaunel for a conversation about FACE.
OAJ: How did the concept spark? Was there notable demand in the fashion industry for model development?
JM: The concept sparked when we noticed that a lot of models don’t get to reach their full potential because of mistakes they make, due to lack of knowledge and the ability to adapt to the rigorous lifestyle of the industry. A new model is not taught all the necessary information needed to be successful in the industry from the onset. It’s trail and error. With our Invitationals, one will get all the nuggets they need to become a successful model. They are introduced to the full gamut of the industry through a series of intensive sessions led by the industry’s top experts.
OAJ: FACE panel of experts is impressive in its own right. How difficult was the coming-together of the panel?
It wasn’t at all difficult to put the panel together. Once we decided on the format of the Invitationals, we reached out to the experts we felt were best for the task at hand. All our experts are at the top of their respective fields and have a great wealth of experience and and knowledge to impart. We have industry experts like Dr. Oz Garcia who is is recognized as the world’s leading authority on healthy aging and is a bestselling author. Oz is the go-to nutritionist for A-List celebrities and Fortune 100 CEO’s. His unique and customized approach to nutrition and anti-aging coupled with more than 30-years of experience has made Oz one of the most recognizable names in the industry. He has lectured all over the world and has been a pioneer in the study of nutrition and anti-aging. We also have Emmy Nominated and Wendy Williams’ go-to makeup artist Merrell Hollis. His work can be seen in such magazines as Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, Instyle, Vanity Fair. Naomi Campbell, Joy Braynt and Lauren London are some of the celebrities who has Merrell on speed dial. For more on our experts visit the “Meet The Experts” page on http://www.facemodeldevelopment.com.
OAJ: Tell us about partnering with Kimanee. Was it a natural fusion?
JM: Kimanee is a God-send. Over the years, we have developed a wonderful friendship which evolved into us becoming business partners. With Kimanee’s experience in the fashion industry and combining my knowledge, we make an unstoppable team. We fuse naturally because we know each other’s strengths and weakness. Where I’m weak, she is strong and vise versa.
OAJ: Images featured on FACE’s website are primarily female. Are Invitationals to come open to male models?
JM: Yes, our NYC invitational is for female models from the ages of 13-22. We have been getting submissions form male models as well so we will put plans in place to facilitate a male model invitational.
OAJ: Jaunel, when are you coming to scout for the next Jamaican supermodel?
JM: The FACE team will be coming to Jamaica, once we have the dates and schedule in place o-access JAMAICA will be the 1st to know 🙂