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Tami Williams: the making of a legend

Published:Sunday | July 3, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Tami Williams
Tami for Valentino.
Tami Williams
Tami Williams for Valentino global campaign.
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It's now official - Saint International's Tami Williams is now a member of the elite 'Top 50' models of the world, compiled by the revered Models.com. The recent Quality Academic High School graduate landed on the prestigious list only a week after graduation.

A spot on The Models.com list is coveted by all models. It validates a model's status in the business. Listed by alphabetical order, the site says of Tami, "Dolce & Gabbana has called upon Jamaican stunner, Tami Williams, to be one of the front runners for their latest campaign, giving the American Vogue mainstay the advertising bump she needed to go along with her stellar runway resume and editorial work. Welcome to the big leagues!'

Of course, no one is prouder than Saint International boss Deiwght Peters. "She is a true international fashion superstar. Two French Elle Magazine covers (by herself) in just a year, global campaigns for fashion's most prestigious brands - Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Calvin Klein Collections, Top Shop, plus regular appearances in fashion's ultimate 'bible' - American Vogue, puts her in a league of her own, he told Outlook. Peters has been the chief architect of Tami's international career.

 

A single mother and hard times

 

Tami remains grounded as she never forgets the hard times she endured being raised by a single mother who had five children. There were days she couldn't make it to school (she originally attended Black River High and lived in Gazeland St Elizabeth). When Peters started managing Tami, he provided financial assistance for school and stressed the importance of a model getting a good education. When her international career took off, he organised for private school tuition to be paid for by Elite New York. Tami relocated to Kingston to attend Quality Academics, and as they say, the rest is history.

Tami, who had always dreamt of becoming a model was taken by her mother Carlene McLeod, to meet Peters when she was just 12 years old. He saw the potential, but she was shorter than the 5 foot 8 inches minimum required by the industry. Shy of her 14th birthday, Williams returned to Peters. By this time, she had her growth spurt, and stood at an elegant 5 foot 11inches. "When I saw her, I remember saying to my then assistant, this kid will be a supermodel," Peters reminisces.

She entered the Fashion Face of the Caribbean in 2013 and finished second. She was signed to Elite New York, STORM Models London, WHY NOT Milan, and Elite Paris.

 

Runway Resume

Tami soon captured the fashion world making her debut as a semi-exclusive for the influential Alexander Wang show at New York Fashionweek. An avalanche of prestigious runway exits followed including Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Alberta Ferretti, Gucci, Valentino, MaisonMargiela, Calvin Klein, Balmain, Lanvin, Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana, and a long and enviable list.

She has made the Top 10 newcomers list for many respectable fashion insider list such as Models.com.

By the time she was 16, Tami had shot multiple times for American Vogue. She considers legendary stylist and former Creative Director Vogue' Grace Coddington, Fashion Director of W Magazine Edward Enningful, among her mentors.

One of her most treasured memories was sharing a ground-breaking Vogue editorial spread with fellow Saint mate and model BFF Kai Newman shot by legendary Peter Lindberg (and styled by Grace Coddington).

According to Peters, "Tami gets it, she understands the politics of the global industry and she loves the business. She lives for the glamour." He reveals that the now 17 year old does not intend to stop at the runways, but has her eyes set on Hollywood. "Tami is a very hard worker and her motivation is a better life for her mother and young sisters," shared Peters.

He continues, "I predict she will be a true global fashion icon with a long career. She is just getting started."