Jamaica Nyce Interviews Jaunel McKenzie, Top Model

Irie Jam Media Group’s Caribbean Fashion Rocks 2010 was spectacular, held on Sunday April 25, 2010, at LQ Nightclub, New York City. It was a star-studded event with diplomats, dignitaries, supermodels, and fashionistas in attendance. Ten very talented designers presented colorful and creative designs. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to global fashion ICON Kingsley Cooper, of Pulse Investments Ltd in Jamaica, who launched the careers of numerous international models, including Vogue and Gucci models Nadine Willis, Jaunel McKenzie, Gaye McDonald, Jeneil Williams, as well as Sports Illustrated swimsuit model & Esquire cover girl Carla Campbell. Mr. Cooper was given the awarded for his outstanding contribution to the global fashion industry.

Jamaica Nyce caught up with top model Jaunel McKenzie at the event for a quick interview. Here it is:

Jamaica Nyce Interviews Jaunel McKenzie, Top Model

Jamaica Nyce: Hi I am Jamaica Nyce and we are here at Caribbean Fashion Rocks. And we are here with the legendary Jaunel McKenzie. How are you Jaunel?

Jaunel McKenzie: I am very well, thank you.

Jamaica Nyce: Good! Good! So you’ve been…like…ripping the runways of the world. How has that experience been?

Jaunel McKenzie: Ah, it’s been a wonderful and great experience…and it was amazing, like, doing all the shows for the designers that I wear personally…meeting them and seeing their talent…it’s an amazing experience.

Jamaica Nyce: So, you were the Pulse winner in 2002?

Jaunel McKenzie: Yes, I was…yes, I was.

Jamaica Nyce: So what inspired you to even become a part of that competition?

Jaunel McKenzie: I decided to be in it because my mom…I was a bit tomboyish, and my mom wanted to refine me, for me to be more girly, and so I entered the competition. I never dreamed of being a model…and I won the competition, so here I am.

Jamaica Nyce: Wonderful! Wonderful! So one would imagine you were like a fashionista as a kid but not so much…

Jaunel McKenzie: Not at all…not even so much…not at all…

Jamaica Nyce: So how do you find it being in, ah, this tough industry?

Jaunel McKenzie: Ah, the industry is really…it’s work so it’s what you make of it…and I don’t have a lot of peer pressure…I do, but I don’t succumb to those…

Jamaica Nyce: Do you get to visit Jamaica and your family very often?

Jaunel McKenzie: My sister is going to school here in North Carolina so she comes here (New York) to see me a lot, and I go home at least twice a year…so I see them.

Jamaica Nyce: When you are on the road do you miss your Caribbean foods and things like that?

Jaunel McKenzie: Of course. I miss the food and the music and everything…But it’s hard to find Jamaican food when you’re in Paris or when you’re in Milan but I always get it when I get home, so I stock up when I get home.

Jamaica Nyce: Wonderful! Wonderful! You were the first Jamaican to do the cover of American Vogue?

Jaunel McKenzie: Oh No no no! I was the first Jamaican to do American Vogue. I didn’t do the cover.

Jamaica Nyce: Oh you didn’t do the cover?

Jaunel McKenzie: I did 11 photo shoots with them, with Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, two of the best photographers, top photographers, in the industry. So that was it.

Jamaica Nyce: How was that experience being the first, was it a lot of pressure?

Jaunel McKenzie: No, it wasn’t a lot of pressure. As I said it’s work so it wasn’t pressure…I was very honored to do it, and to get to appear in American Vogue…So it was amazing…

Jamaica Nyce: Do you enjoy doing these kinds of shows (like Caribbean Fashion Rocks) for the Caribbean…?

Jaunel McKenzie: This actually is my first time here (Caribbean Fashion Rocks). I am here to honor Kingsley Cooper who is being honored tonight for being a pioneer in the industry…I do Caribbean Fashion Week (Kingston, Jamaica), which is very important for me because it’s held in Jamaica and it is a lot about Caribbean designers and bringing them to the forefront of the fashion industry. So I love doing it. I love giving back to my people.

Jamaica Nyce: Wonderful! So, it was a pleasure to meet you.

Jaunel McKenzie: Thank you.

Jamaica Nyce Interviews Jaunel McKenzie Photo Gallery

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