Davina Bennett-tackling it all
Growing up in Mitchell Town, Clarendon, all Davina Bennett wanted to do was model. Day and night she dreamed of strutting down a runway.
As awkward as she was, in third form she was approached by Pulse Modelling Agency, but her parents were not in agreement. "They said I was too young and should wait until after I had passed my CXCs," Bennett told Flair. Not only did she pass the eight subjects she pursued, she was also successful in five CAPE subjects in units one and two.
The now 19-year-old tells Flair, "This all started when I entered the Pulse Million Dollar Girl Competition with the hopes of winning that title and becoming a model. Thicker than the other models, my weight was definitely an issue - plus not to mention not grasping how to take pictures, not being aware of my angles, two left feet, and not being able to socialise. Regardless of the circumstances, I still gave it a shot. I didn't win, but I was a part of the top group that received a contract. I decided to carry on with my studies even though my intention was that of pursuing a full-time career of modelling - at the back of my mind of course! With eight CXCs and five CAPE in units 1 and 2 to my name, I wasn't a 'pretty dunce' as many perceived."
Growing up in a traditional family she was expected to leave high school and then attend college. "I totally went off that path when photographers saw my potential. I had photoshoots back to back, building my portfolio free of cost and improving after each photoshoot. Then came TV appearances, Caribbean Magazine, newspaper features, social media broadcasts, fashion shows, including Caribbean Fashionweek ... It was then that I came to the realisation that winning isn't everything and it doesn't matter where you come from because the future belongs to those who believe in themselves and their dreams."
Pushing through with the little support she had, she deferred her 2015 acceptance to the University of the West Indies to pursue marine biology or health sciences and went into modelling.
"I started putting in the work to tackle my dreams of going international. Training, exercising, dieting and eating healthy were all in the bag. I was determined and driven. Dealing with regular conversations about going on this journey was a constant bother. The situation got stressful. My intentions was to make everyone proud, but it wasn't until someone said, 'It's time to think about what you want and make yourself proud,' that I really felt impressed to pursue my dreams for myself."
Bennett made it to London and was rejected by many agencies but accepted by few. "Everyone would say that's just a part of life, but unfortunately I couldn't see it that way. I shed never-ending tears with the fear that I would have to hear the words 'I told you so'. Surprisingly, no one said so. Instead, I heard, 'Don't, give up!' I was then blessed with a contract and made it into London Fashion Week. The mawga country pickney did a gwaan wid things! Every time one door closed another one opened.
"I then came back to Jamaica with the hopes of returning but received news about a major setback with my documents to return - another door closed. This door was, however, reopened with the opportunity to visit the New York market where I was rejected by few and now await the response of others. Who knows? I might not even make it into that market either but the journey doesn't end - faith never dies and the dreams get even bigger."
While Bennett is yet to decide what to pursue when she enters UWI in August, she is enjoying the fruits of her labour. "Appearing on the cover of the Outlook Magazine on January 24, 2016 not only says that more doors are opening, but that I'm just getting started! In the end, I might not reach my ultimate goal but I've inspired many young persons to follow theirs dreams, impacted many lives, made a difference, and for those reasons, I am proud!"