‘I am go­ing to send the pur­ple fake fur coat from my col­lec­tion to Bey­once... if she wore it, I’d die’

Model Jour­dan Dunn opens up about her so­cial me­dia su­per-set and how En­nin­ful will shake up Vogue,

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - INTERVIEW - writes Su­san­nah But­ter

Anew era is dawn­ing at Bri­tish Vogue, ac­cord­ing to the model Jour­dan Dunn. She’s firmly on Team Ed­ward En­nin­ful. “He’s go­ing to bring fresh­ness, which is way over­due,” she says and is “so ex­cited and emo­tional” about the mag­a­zine’s new editor-in-chief, who is both its first male and first black boss. “Ed­ward has that en­ergy you want to be around. The thing I love about him is that he loves women and wants you to feel com­fort­able, ask­ing if you feel good. He doesn’t want women to look like lit­tle boys. You know what I’m say­ing?”

All lithe limbs and sassy flicks of eye­liner, Dunn is full of spirit her­self. She looks ex­actly as she does in her cam­paigns for Burberry, tow­er­ing over ev­ery­one in thigh-high sil­ver boots and a re­gal pur­ple velour sweater dress.

Dunn isn’t con­cerned about what Vogue’s re­cently de­parted editor of 25 years, Alexan­dra Shul­man, will do next. “I don’t re­ally care,” she says with­out en­thu­si­asm, be­fore check­ing her­self. “Maybe she will chill and live her life. She’ll be all right.

“Al­ready there’s more diver­sity at Vogue,” she adds, re­fer­ring to the pic­ture of Vogue’s all-white team that Naomi Camp­bell posted on Instagram with the cap­tion “look­ing for­ward to an in­clu­sive and di­verse staff ”. Dunn says: “It’s a shame that was the im­age of the Vogue of­fice but with Ed­ward be­ing there it’s chang­ing.”

Dunn is part of that shift. She was spot­ted by a scout at Pri­mark Ham­mer­smith aged 15, was the first black model in a Prada show for more than a decade in 2008 and, in 2015, be­came the first solo black model to ap­pear on the cover of Bri­tish Vogue since Naomi Camp­bell, 12 years pre­vi­ously.

“The in­dus­try is be­ing forced to change be­cause so­cial me­dia means you can’t hide from any­thing — now ev­ery­one can see if you have just one black model in a show and you will get blasted for it, whereas be­fore it was just peo­ple at the show who would see. What kind of mes­sage are they try­ing to por­tray to kids from all back­grounds and shapes and sizes who will look at the shows and won­der why no one looks like them?”

But we are here to talk about Dunn’s move into de­sign­ing. The out­fit she’s wear­ing to­day is from her se­cond col­lec­tion with Miss­guided — “pieces you can wear day-to-night, with el­e­ments of ath­leisure”. We laugh about ath­leisure be­ing a “weird word that no one knows how to pro­nounce”. Her first col­lec­tion for the UK-based com­pany in April this year boosted its rev­enue by 75%.

A floor-length pur­ple (fake) fur coat is her favourite item from this col­lec­tion. She wants to send it to Bey­oncé. “If she wore it, I’d ac­tu­ally die. We’ve met a few times. I’m just go­ing to send it to her.”

In­spi­ra­tion came from a tat­too she has on her lower arm which reads “fear is not an op­tion”. “It’s a quote from Diane von Fursten­burg. Her mum said it to her. Fear is al­ways in the way of what you want to do. We need to just do it. That works hand in-hand with the col­lec­tion be­cause there are pieces you have to be fear­less to wear, like the PVC skirt. They’re about go­ing out of your com­fort zone and own­ing it. Let peo­ple re­act, as long as you feel good. Clothes can help give you con­fi­dence.”

The in­au­gu­ral col­lec­tion drew on an­other tat­too, read­ing “you owe it to your­self to set the world on fire”. That was the head­line on Dunn’s first i-D mag­a­zine cover, when she was just 18. “I thought if a big pub­li­ca­tion like i-D sees me in that way I’m go­ing to get it tat­tooed on me.” A few years later, at 24, she was on the Forbes list of top-earn­ing mod­els, with $4 mil­lion in 2014, al­though she in­sists she isn’t rash with money. “My first big cheque was £5,000 for a job with L’Oreal. I was 16. I thought I was rich. I made that five grand last a long time — I didn’t go crazy, I just stopped ask­ing my mum for money.”

She hasn’t called on any fashion friends for ad­vice on de­sign­ing. “I don’t like ask­ing for things.” But she has “learned to speak up”. “Be­fore I had the role of cre­ative di­rec­tor but I didn’t re­ally take it on. I didn’t want to sound like I was be­ing dif­fi­cult but in truth my name is on it and I need to voice my opin­ion. This time I thought, ‘I don’t want to look back and have re­grets’.” Af­ter the col­lec­tion was fin­ished Dunn took a month off, plan­ning to catch up with friends in­clud­ing fel­low model Kar­lie Kloss, her “birth­day sis­ter”. Dunn and Kloss are part of a su­per-cir­cle, along with Cara Delev­ingne. “We just chill to­gether,” says Dunn. “Last time Kar­lie was in Lon­don, my son and I just went to her ho­tel and got room ser­vice. [The at­ten­tion] can be too much. Some­times you just want to have a con­ver­sa­tion with­out hav­ing to take a selfie.”

Kloss’s boyfriend, mil­lion­aire tech in­vestor Joshua Kush­ner, is the younger brother of Ivanka Trump’s hus­band Jared. But Dunn says she isn’t the per­son to ask about the pres­i­den­tial con­nec­tion. “I can only imag­ine what it’s like,” she says coolly. She’s hap­pier talk­ing about Kloss’s su­pe­rior bak­ing skills. “She’s amaz­ing. I don’t have the pa­tience for it. I don’t re­ally like sweets.” Dunn’s spe­cial­ity is main dishes, par­tic­u­larly her chicken curry. Kloss and Delev­ingne made cameos on Dunn’s YouTube cook­ery show Well Dunn. Maybe they could open a restau­rant, with Dunn on chicken and Kloss on dessert? “That would be amaz­ing.”

Dunn’s fashion fairy god­mother, though, is Naomi Camp­bell. “She’s a good per­son to have your back. One of the first things she told me was to look af­ter my­self and not run my­self dry. I held on to that. I make sure I have times where I can breathe and re­con­nect.”

She’s cur­rently read­ing a well-thumbed copy of a book called All the Joy You Can Stand: 101 Sa­cred Power Prin­ci­ples for Mak­ing Joy Real in Your Life, which she has with her. “It has chap­ters like Move More and Pay At­ten­tion. I like to have it around for pick-me-ups.”

Dunn has stopped walk­ing shows, which now means she can “en­joy Fashion Week”, al­though it’s still “hard work”, with three shows a day to at­tend from 8am and an event ev­ery night. She has 2.1 mil­lion Instagram fol­low­ers but finds it “tir­ing”. If the right show comes up she will do it, and she oc­ca­sion­ally misses the cat­walk “if I see a great show and think I could’ve killed that look”. But do­ing 60 shows a sea­son was “ex­haust­ing”.

Does she re­gret go­ing into mod­el­ling young? “I don’t have any re­grets.” Her mother ac­com­pa­nied her to ev­ery job for two years, which kept her grounded. Now her mother looks af­ter Ri­ley, Jour­dan’s seven-year-old son, full-time. “I’m so blessed that I have my mum. I can only imag­ine (the dif­fi­culty of ) child­care in Lon­don.” Her mother and younger brother, who runs a box­ing gym, are her best friends.

Dunn is not with Ri­ley’s fa­ther but they share child­care. Her son is a big fan of Dunn’s de­signs. “He spot­ted a boy in my M&S LonDunn T-shirt and told me to go up to him. When the ad comes on TV he says ‘Mummy, that’s you’ and gets re­ally proud.”

What if Ri­ley wanted to fol­low her into mod­el­ling? “I’d to­tally sup­port him. He wants to be a rock star one minute, the next a doc­tor, then a foot­baller, ac­tor. He writes songs and makes videos for them on his iPad.” That cre­ativ­ity means she doesn’t ra­tion his use of tech. They play com­puter games to­gether — Mario Kart is a favourite. “He’s a sore loser so I have to let him win but oc­ca­sion­ally I put him in his place.” She’s plan­ning to start giv­ing him pocket money now. “He’s just liv­ing off the tooth fairy now and thinks he’s rich — he of­fers to pay for things for me.”

They’re about to move house — Dunn has just bought her first place in Lon­don. She owns a flat in New York. “I’m not good with that stuff,” she ad­mits. “I wanted to buy the first house I saw but my mum told me not to and to never go for the ask­ing price.” Pack­ing will be an or­deal. “I have a lot of stuff, I’m bad.”

Un­til she moves in she’s at her mum’s house a lot, watch­ing Hol­lyoaks and “be­ing cooked for, I’m spoilt”.

Dunn “isn’t con­sis­tent” about fit­ness. When she needs to blitz it she goes to her brother’s gym, KOBOX — “he’s harsh with me, which is good”.

She is sus­cep­ti­ble to fast-food crav­ings (“I wanted some KFC yes­ter­day and couldn’t get it so I had two filet-o-fish burg­ers and some nuggets”) and en­joys a drink. “I know my lim­its, though. I’ve been in­tro­duced to pineap­ple and tequila, which is a good com­bi­na­tion.” The PR tells us it’s called a Craig David.

For now, though, Dunn is all set for a se­ri­ous au­tumn, turn­ing the town pur­ple.

My son is a sore loser so I let him win

MODEL BE­HAV­IOUR: Jour­dan Dunn and (inset left) with Ed­ward En­nin­ful

NEW LOOK: Duster jacket, £60, crop top, £18, knick­ers, £12, all Jour­dan Dunn

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