Ayanna Dixon - There's greatness in thinking outside of the box
It's no secret that society, at times, will dictate stringent career paths to young women that they must pursue. Sometimes it's manifested in blatant statements such as, 'You should become a lawyer'. Or it may be hidden in words such as, 'You're too brilliant to become an artist'. Doctors, teachers, paediatricians, and neurosurgeons are a just a handful of the conventional career options constantly tossed at our girls.
Challenging the status quo
Some persons, however, have opted to challenge this status quo and have proven to be successful. Victors like Ayanna Dixon, a fashion designer, illustrator, and occasional model, know exactly how to cut loose from society's firm grip of the expected status quo, and have demonstrated that greatness lies in thinking outside of the box.
Born to creative parents Orville Dixon and Beti Campbell, Dixon has artistic blood pumping through her veins and coming to life in her craft. Her mother is a trained textile designer, which explains the root of Dixon's designing talent. And with her father being an architect, her appreciation for expressive illustrations has grown immensely with time.
Describing herself as a fun, sophisticated and hardworking soul, her profound admiration of elephants and Indian saris sets her apart from the pack. Next to these are fashion and the ocean.
At 16 years old, Dixon's mother introduced her to the world of modelling, and soon after, she signed a contract with Pulse International modelling agency.
"Looking back, I can't really say my modelling career has taken off. I've done mostly commercials in Jamaica, but I've never done anything internationally. As a commercial model, many persons think I'm taller than I am. To be a real model, you have to be 5ft 7inches, and I'm only 5ft 5 inches," Dixon revealed to Flair.
Today, she models sporadically, but her love for the art is undying.
Designing and illustrating
After high school, Dixon's interest in fashion piqued. She was trained in fashion designing at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Art Institute of New York. Armed with fashion expertise, and guidance from international fashion connoisseurs Monique Leshman, Donna Karan International, and Marches, Dixon is poised to uplift women.
"My purpose is to empower women through illustrations. As women, we all go through the same stories. I've heard my friends say 'Oh I'm so fat, I need to go on a diet' and when I am look at them, I see beautiful and amazing individuals. Our differences are what make us unique, and this is what I want to portray though fashion by fusing it with illustrations of women of all shapes and sizes."
Her current aim is to publish a colouring book, which will portray individuals with varied body types. Dixon's goal is to help children to learn to accept and appreciate themselves for who they are.
With illustrations being the latest addition to her successful business ASD, which was initially a clothing line, Dixon has expanded her entrepreneurial venture. The illustrations are not only meant for garments, but also in paintings, calendars, and mugs. She enjoys the graphics; however, there is a challenge.
"I would expand my illustrations but the market is not in Jamaica," she explained.
We all have monsters that we fear. Unlike some of us, Dixon's most dreaded monster does not hide underneath her bed. Instead it roams the streets of Jamaica purpose-driven and ready to snatch its next defenceless victim. Yes, Jamaica's escalating crime situation is her worst fear.
"I've always wanted to have my family life in Jamaica. I fear the direction we're going in terms of the crime and violence and the economy," she said with a grimace.