Su­per­model Jour­dan Dunn “I worked hard to love my­self”

#Girl­boss, #Mum­boss, just call Jour­dan Dunn The Boss.

Glamour (South Africa) - - News -

an hour af­ter Jour­dan Dunn has to leave GLAM­OUR’S cover shoot to catch a flight, she posts an In­sta­gram story. It shows her read­ing ma­te­rial for the jour­ney and is cap­tioned, “I should have read this be­fore my in­ter­view to­day.” The book is TED Talks: The Of­fi­cial TED Guide to Pub­lic Speak­ing by Chris An­der­son (Head­line Pub­lish­ing; R200). The in­ter­view she’s talk­ing about was with me.

So what went wrong? Did she give one-word an­swers, ram­ble on with­out ac­tu­ally say­ing any­thing or walk out? Nope, nope and nope. She was open, friendly and happy to talk about any­thing, a far cry from some of the sub­jects I’ve pro­filed. It just wasn’t, she tells me later, the best that she could do.

“I’m in a new stage of my life, a new chap­ter, and I want to give some­thing in­ter­est­ing. I was just so dis­ap­pointed in my­self,” she tells me a week later. “At school, I would al­ways know the an­swer, but be scared to put my hand up be­cause I get ner­vous and I start mud­dling my words up and stut­ter.

Some­times in in­ter­views, in my head I know how I want it to sound, but it comes out scram­bled.” That’s not at all how she comes across, but what’s clear is that when the 26-year-old model-turned-busi­ness­woman does some­thing, she’s all in.

Our sec­ond meet-up is on the set of the cam­paign shoot for LONDUNN + Miss­guided by Jour­dan Dunn, the 96-piece cloth­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion she launched with the brand in March.

Plenty of col­lab­o­ra­tions be­gin and end with the celebrity link­ing their name to a la­bel, but when the on­line re­tailer ap­proached Jour­dan, she im­me­di­ately con­cerned her­self with the minu­tiae of the project.

“They’d say, ‘You don’t have to come for the de­sign meet­ing,’ and I was like, ‘ What do you mean? That’s the whole pur­pose of it,’” she says. “I want to be there for the cast­ing and the de­sign and for ev­ery­thing. I want to have the fi­nal say, be­cause it’s my name on it and it’s a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of me.”

Her 2016 kids’ cloth­ing line with Marks & Spencers, Lil’ Londunn, sprung from a de­sire to de­sign for her seven-year-old son, Ri­ley, but she had more self­ish mo­ti­va­tions for this range: cre­at­ing clothes that she wanted to buy and, more im­por­tantly, that would fit her. “The strug­gle was real when I was grow­ing up,” she laughs about her 180cm height. She was a tall and skinny teenager, too self-con­scious for it to cross her mind that her pro­por­tions were ideal for a mod­el­ling ca­reer un­til she was scouted by Storm Man­age­ment at age 15. She quickly went from Lon­don teen to one of the UK’S most in-de­mand mod­els. In 2014, Jour­dan landed the cov­eted role as Maybelline New York’s spokesmodel, join­ing su­per­mod­els Adri­ana Lima and Christy Turling­ton.

These days, she splits her time be­tween her place in New York and her mom’s house in Lon­don, where Ri­ley also lives. And yes, she is stun­ning. Even be­fore hair and makeup get to work at the cover shoot, her wil­lowy frame, flaw­less skin and per­fect bone struc­ture are un­mis­tak­able.

It’s hard to imagine that a col­lec­tion de­signed with that raw ma­te­rial in mind would trans­late well for us real women. “One thing,” Jour­dan says po­litely, “I don’t re­ally like the term ‘real women’. When you com­pare ‘real women’ to mod­els, it’s like, what do you mean? I live on earth. I have breasts, I have a vagina, I am very much real.”

For women with­out model pro­por­tions then, I mod­ify. “I want all types of women to feel com­fort­able in it and feel good. So, once I got the mind­set of how I wanted it to be, I had to then think, ‘OK, maybe that fab­ric might not be too com­ple­men­tary to this kind of woman or that kind of woman.’ We played around.”

To her two mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers, Jour­dan is very much real, and that’s why they love her, even if her can­dour on so­cial me­dia has oc­ca­sion­ally got her in trou­ble. “I don’t re­gret it at all, but I’m a bit smarter about it now,” she says. Her feed is still up­dated daily, but these days her out­put is more con­sid­ered. Be­cause, well, mon­eti­sa­tion.

“It’s a busi­ness,” she says. “I’m get­ting my head around the fact that so­cial me­dia is also a way to brand your­self and show every­body who you are.” But she’s still com­mit­ted to keep­ing up the flow of self­ies that her fans love (av­er­age likes: 45 000) – and she makes an ef­fort at both shoots to take some to post.

But will we ever see any­thing as can­did again as the 2014 post that showed off her stretch marks and caused the in­ter­net to have a bit of a melt­down? “I hon­estly didn’t post it be­cause of my stretch marks,” she says, laugh­ing. I posted it be­cause I thought my crop top looked cute, and my stom­ach looked quite nice and flat. Then I looked at the com­ments and ev­ery­one was go­ing on about my stretch marks. It wasn’t my rea­son, but I’m happy I did, be­cause I’m real and even ‘some­one like me’ has stretch marks.”

Be­cause aside from brand­ing, au­then­tic­ity is Jour­dan’s other 2017 buzz­word. “I’m not just go­ing to put my name to some­thing ran­dom. With the kid’s line, it was au­then­tic be­cause I have a child [Ri­ley ap­peared in the ad cam­paign], and with Miss­guided, I want to be able to dress women.”

What else fits the re­mit? “Cook­ing.” Jour­dan was help­ing her grand­mother in the kitchen from age seven or eight and has al­ready hosted cook­ing shows on­line ( Well Dunn on Jay Z’s Life+times Youtube chan­nel, and How It’s Dunn on i-d mag­a­zine’s life­style plat­form). Now she’s ap­ply­ing that laser fo­cus to a cook­book that fo­cuses on spices. “But not just heat. Dif­fer­ent flavours, like turmeric, cumin, cin­na­mon, that liven up dishes.”

Noth­ing stands in the way of Brand Dunn. Ex­cept her in­ner critic, she says. Right now, she’s in a good headspace, but she says it wasn’t al­ways that way. Just a few years ago, she says, “I was hav­ing negative thoughts about my­self, and I had to change that be­cause it doesn’t get you any­where. I had to re-pro­gramme my mind for pos­i­tiv­ity, and re­ally look hard at my­self so I could find some­thing I ac­tu­ally liked about my­self.”

Jour­dan is a big fan of self-help books, and that’s what helped her start think­ing pos­i­tively. “My favourite was Louise L Hay’s How to Love Your­self (Hay House; R171, au­dio­book). It re­shaped my whole mind­set. Ev­ery­thing makes sense, it all does start from self-lov­ing and for­get­ting, block­ing out negative thoughts and other peo­ple’s thoughts of you.”

But that doesn’t mean she never wa­vers. “I have down mo­ments, but I just let them be mo­ments and not drag on,” she says. “Be­cause then it will just affect me and my en­ergy and other peo­ple. I’m allowed to have those mo­ments, but I’m like, ‘Be a big girl, get on with it, you’ve got things to do.”

You heard the woman: buckle up; she’s got things to do.

“I’m in a new stage of my life, a new chap­ter.” “I have down mo­ments, but I just let them be mo­ments.”

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