I might be 5’8” but I walk like I am 5’10

Meet Jasmine Brown, fashion model and entrepreneur.  I have been following Jasmine’s modeling career after I noticed her in Greenleaf as an extra.  Jasmine and I went to high school together.

It has been almost a decade since I last caught up with her. Last week, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when her photos from New York Fashion week lit my timeline. When I saw the photos, I knew I had to interview her for IamChicinspires.

In school, we all thought Jasmine was going to be a model. She has high cheekbones, deep brown eyes, and a glorious dark mane. Oozing with beauty and confidence, Jasmine struts down the runway walking with pride; Jasmine is a leader. She’s determined to be an international model and business entrepreneur. Therefore, she will be the future of the fashion world. 

 Goals on Top of Goals 

Although Jasmine is  a model, her goal is to use her modeling platform to start FACTS, a non-profit program for student-athletes.  FACTS will help student-athletes achieve financial stability. Brown always wanted to be a business woman. She gets her ambition from her father. At an early age, her dad provided her with the tools to be successful. Jasmine says , “she is her father’s first born son with a wig.”
At first, her father was apprehensive about Jasmine modeling. Mr. Brown is a financial adviser. Success is money, and he wasn’t sure if Jasmine would make much money being a model. But after he saw how serious his daughter was he became a big fan, next to her mother, siblings, and best friend. 
Because of her family support, Jasmine has been able to be successful as a model and as an entrepreneur.  Brown refers to her mom as a “model mom.” Mama Julie promotes her daughter on her Facebook whenever she can. Jasmine has modeled at Fashion Week many times so Mama Julie stays Facebook-ready. Modeling can be tough; the criticism is hard. What is Jasmine’s secret? Not only her loved ones but her diet. Jasmine is vegan; this lifestyle keeps her motivated and focused for every goal she has next. 
Before I interviewed Jasmine, I expected her to tell me she dreamed of modeling. To my surprise, Jasmine’s story was not what I expected:

The Interview 

I’m in traffic, racing to get to Thanks A Latte, a cozy coffee spot in Holly Springs. Of course, I am late, drained and hot. Of course, Jasmine is waiting for me.
I’m about 15 minutes late. I arrive. Jasmine looks as if she just finished walking the runway. Her black booties make her really tall, her long legs are covered in black denim that matches her black-and-white motor jacket.
She flashes me a warm smile. I smile back. I scramble to the restroom to remove the Friday work grime. We meet at the front of the coffee shop.
She waits patiently as I rush to get my stuff together. When I interview people, I start out with my basic introduction. 
Typically, everyone tells me the same stuff. This has been their dream since childhood or they knew from an early age what they wanted to do.  But,  Jasmine’s story caught me off guard.
I knew Jasmine had modeled in New York Fashion Week, so I figured she had the regular story. So, I ask her plainly, “Did you always want to be a model?”
She gives me one of those looks and starts cracking up. “No.” She starts laughing again.
I release the tension in my shoulders: this will be interesting. I stop typing, thinking I always thought she would be a model. She laughs again this time pulling her hair back, “I never thought I would be a model, it was never a goal of mine.” After she finishes convincing me this was an accident, the barista comes over to hand her her coffee.
Before Jasmine can say thank you, she compliments her motor jacket. It was a nice jacket.

 

Go Model,JAZZ! 

Jasmine is the swim coach for Holly Springs High School. She is also the business owner of Unlimited Performance. Unlimited performance teaches swimmers technique to be faster and stronger in the water. 
I remember in high school, Jasmine swam on the swim team. She also played tennis, danced and ran track. 
Jasmine states when she was coaching swim the “parents of her swimmers had told her she should model.” Pretty soon,  everybody was telling her to model, “strangers at the mall” and “random people” were all saying the same thing.  I couldn’t believe it, but then again, I did. I guess it takes confirmation from the universe to take the first leap. 
People were telling Jasmine exactly what to do to make her dreams happen. I ask Jasmine what finally made her listen. She leans in, eyes real big, “It felt like someone was poking me at the time.” She begins to whisper, “A voice was telling me to go model, go model.” I pick up my typing speed to catch every word of this story.
Jasmine did listen, she joined NC Photographers and Models Club. She did one photoshoot. “My sister came with me; I did three looks.  After the pictures were posted,  I had like 11 photographers in my inbox, then all of a sudden I have a portfolio, then an agency, then runway gigs, then my face is on flyers for shows.” Jasmine pauses searching for the right words. “I started to think this was something I was supposed to be doing and it kept coming, I was riding the wave.”  Jasmine recalls.  I nod in agreement and type as fast as I can,  making sure to capture her passion; her drive.

Get Confidence ASAP

As Jasmine is talking, her journey sounded easy, simple even. Later in the interview, Jasmine reminds me nothing is ever easy. She has hit some rough patches in her modeling career.  Her first experience with New York Fashion Week wasn’t pleasant. Jasmine clears her throat. She tells me that she didn’t make her first casting for Fashion Week. 
 I am sitting next to someone that I thought would always be a model. To hear her speak of rejection confidently shocked me.  I ask her what happened. Jasmine says in a low voice, “A casting director said to me, [I don’t want black girls. I want white girls dipped in chocolate].” My eyebrows raise. It isn’t the first time I heard about this in the fashion industry. The casting director didn’t like her hair or her look so she didn’t get the casting.
It is important for women to define their own version of success; if you prescribe to people’s definition of success then you become who they want you to be not who you want to be.”

You Got to Have Thick Skin 

Before I could express my frustrations and rant, Jasmine smiles at me. She knew what I was thinking. She said, “Normally, someone would get discouraged, but I didn’t. I always had thick skin- you need thick skin to be a model.” I agree. Jasmine continues, “People will say no and that is common, but still someone will say yes.”   
In the fashion world, Brown has been told she is “too black” or plus size- “they have to measure your hips and waist- I have a tiny waist but girl I got hips.” We both laugh. “It is true, models are like canvases on the runway, you have to use as little as fabric as possible.” 
Her next casting at Fashion Designers of Latin America, shifted her career. They booked her on sight. That was Jasmine’s first fashion week and the rest was catwalk. If Jasmine would had listened to the criticism she would have never walked in New York Fashion Week. 

Go For It 

Towards the end of our interview,  Jasmine gives me the low down on what it takes to be a model. She says “If you want to be a model, don’t do it, but if you do, really do, you can, simple.” I laugh, it does sound simple, but it is like with anything– if you really want something nothing will stop you, not even a broken foot. By the way, Jasmine has done two shows with a broken foot, so when it comes to a dream or something you want: NO EXCUSES. To the end the interview, I asked Jasmine what is her number one modeling hack. “I walk tall, I might be 5’8 but I walk like I am 5’10.” 
In the future, you can find Jasmine on the cover of magazines and strutting down the runway. Sooner rather than later, Brown will be doing all kinds of boss stuff like starting a non-profit or opening her own agency. This coming weekend, Jasmine is holding her first event for FACTS. 
IamchicInspires is proud to interview our first-ever fashion model. We support her and we are eager to witness her rise in the fashion world.  
What inspires you?  Who inspires you?  What is your dream?

Jasmine’s contact information: 
IG: @thejasmineamber 
Email: Jasmineamber.model@gmail.com 

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