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Black beauty
published: Monday | February 16, 2004


Dionne

THE JAMAICAN INVASION

JAMAICAN MODELS have always done well overseas and their accomplishments have been well noted in the media. However, in recent years, there has been an overwhelming demand for dark-skinned models - mainly for their exotic look. Ethnic models such as Naomi Campbell from Britain, Alek Wek, Liya Kebede and Yasmine Warsame from Africa have definitely made their mark in the world of fashion and have paved the way for other dark-skinned beauties such as our own Nakeisha Robinson, Nadine Willis and Jaunel McKenzie.

Lately, other Jamaican black beauties have made an impact in the international fashion scene and one of the modelling agencies that have made this happen is Saint International. Headed by CEO Deiwight Peters, Saint has placed a number of Jamaican models with leading agencies in the fashion capitals of the world such as Milan, London, Paris and New York. The agency has also broken into the South African market, where a number of Jamaican models have been placed doing either editorials, commercials or both. In this week's issue, Flair focuses on the successes of some of these Jamaican beauties who have stunned the world and are managing to hold their own in a glamorous yet competitive environment.

DIONNE'S A STUNNER

A former web-site administrator of the RJR Communication Group, Dionne Stephens entered the world of modelling two and a half years ago, but was signed internationally by Saint since last June. Standing at 5ft. 9in. tall, Stephens' charcoal black skin is becoming a favourite among fashion photographers across Europe. She continues on her blazing success trail scoring the cover of one of Spain's leading fashion magazines Punto H.

The black beauty, who is presently based in London with Profile Models, has also been a favourite among leading European magazines from the start. She has made two appearances in the iconic ID magazine with other high profile magazines such as Bolz, Tense, the South African Marie Claire, Colors, French Connection UK, Look Book, Star Mag among others. She also has an upcoming spread in Trace Magazine, which promises to take her career to yet another level.

In January, Stephens started the year with renowned British designer Ted Baker. She also strutted down the catwalk during London Fashion Week last year for another famous British designer Hamish Marrow and is expected to do so for other clients in this year's Fashion Week.

LIFE BEHIND THE CAMERA

We spoke to Stephens recently between castings in London via her cellphone and asked her a few questions about her new fabulous life as a model.

FL: How are you finding your new life as a fashion model. Is it glamorous as several persons may think?

Stephens: Before I started modelling, I always assumed as others that it was an exciting lifestyle. Now that I'm getting first-hand experience, I've realised that it's not as exciting as it seems. It's actually hard and photo shoots are definitely not glamorous while doing them. although the end results may seem so.

FL: What has been your most difficult photo shoot?

Stephens: The hardest shoot for me was while doing the one for Trace Magazine. I was strapped in a harness from the ceiling while holding a pound of iron in my hands. It was quite uncomfortable to say the least.

FL: What has been your most exciting project?

Stephens: I have a small role in a 007 James Bond spoof. It's actually a French movie in which I am a cocktail waitress in the film. Parts of the movie were shot in the Pinewood Studios in England.

FL: What's your biggest indulgence since becoming a model?

Stephens: Definitely shoes. I just love them. Sometimes when I get my pay cheque, I head directly to a shoe store. My favourite type of shoes are boots, I love them when they are knee-high with stiletto heels.

FL: Do Europeans warm up to you knowing that you're a Jamaican?

Stephens: On first meeting me, many persons here think I'm from Ghana or Kenya - not Jamaica. I have to convince them that I'm all-Jamaican. Jamaican music is actually doing very well now and Sean Paul is big in London right now.

FL: Which famous persons have you met since modelling internationally?

Stephens: There are a few persons yes. The ones who stand out readily in my mind are British designer Julian McDonald and international model Alek Wek.

FL: What is one thing you would like to tell your family now?

Stephens: I'd like to tell them not to worry about me as I'm having a great time and they'll all get a chance to see me soon. Big up to my crew at RJR.

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