A day in the life of budding supermodel Jourdan Dunn
March 31, 2009: She may be taking the fashion world by storm and invited to the most glamorous parties, but 17-year-old model Jourdan Dunn is taking it all in her stride.
What the British teenager most looks forward to after a day’s catwalk shows is home cooking, lounging in front of the television and her bed.
Dunn, from west London, was shopping for sunglasses when she was spotted last year by a scout for Storm, the agency that famously discovered Kate Moss.
Hailed as a supermodel-in-the making, she is one of a handful of internationally successful black models and has been taken under the wing of supermodel Naomi Campbell.
“The first time I met Naomi was backstage at a show and she said ‘Oh Jourdan… we definitely have to lunch some time’, Dunn told Reuters in an interview, admitting that she still gets star struck. “I was just smiling like a complete idiot.”
The waif-like model strutted down the catwalk at around 35 shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris for the spring/summer 2008 collections and looks set to top that this season.
But she said London Fashion Week is her favourite, as she gets to stay at home, eat home-cooked food and watch British soap opera “EastEnders”.
“I hate staying in models’ apartments… Most of (the models) are used to their mums running around after them and looking after them, so the house is a complete mess. I’m a clean person so it’s hard to cope with other people’s dirty habits.”
“They’re so dirty, it attracts rodents,” Dunn said, adding that she discovered a mouse in the New York flat she shared with eight other models.
Although still a teenager, Dunn doesn’t do modelling just for fun — she is a career woman with a gruelling schedule.
With three five am starts during London Fashion Week, she squeezed this interview in between her last catwalk show in London and her flight to Milan for the next round of shows.
Landing at eight pm, she said she may even have a casting upon arrival. With New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks following on from one another, it is a non-stop round of castings, auditions and catwalk shows for the newcomer.
After that whirlwind comes to an end, she will do shoots for magazines and campaigns and model in one-off shows.
Dunn laughed at the idea that models may be ferried by taxi from one venue to another during fashion week -instead they hop on the underground and hope navigation skills won’t fail them.
With fashion shows more often than not running late, it is a mad rush to get models’ hair and makeup styled before the show.
“It’s crazy backstage, with hair and makeup, especially because my hair is different to most other models’, sometimes it’s really difficult for them to do it.”
“They are always putting different products on your hair… and it is always damaged at the end of the season,” said Dunn, who relies on her cousin rather than expensive beauty salons to treat her dark brown mane.
In fact, she has changed few lifestyle habits since starting modelling; she still shops on the high street, wears trainers rather than high heels, and eats junk food.
“I am one of those lucky people who can eat anything and don’t put on weight,” Dunn said, steering clear of the size zero debate about ultra skinny models that has recently overshadowed the fashion industry.
Discussing the challenges posed by modelling, Dunn bemoaned the tiny shoes that have sometimes brought tears to her eyes, and laughed about the skimpy clothes.
“Maybe a few times my boobs have popped out of an outfit — but that happens.”
She also commented on the omnipresence of cameramen and photographers, who rush backstage before the show to witness the preparations, and afterwards to interview the designer while the models are getting changed.
“You will be getting your hair done, feeling really tired, closing your eyes — and then there is the flash and two photographers are in your face.”
On the plus side, the models often come away from shows with freebies such as designer bags, fragrances, clothes and even shoes.
“When I was in New York I had to buy an extra suitcase for freebies,” said Dunn, giggling.
Although Dunn may be living in the limelight at the moment, she doesn’t let success go to her head, and says she still hangs out with the same friends back home rather than other models.
As for the glamorous after-parties, they are all full of old people, aren’t they? “I’m not really into after parties, I am only 17 and I feel like I’ll be with a bunch of people not my age.”