Pulse model Jeneil Williams, who placed third in the Caribbean Model Search last year has a Bennetton campaign out and has just got Bloomingdales and 26 pages as well as the cover of Full Freedom Fashion magazine. - Contributed
Pulse model Jeneil Williams cemented her claim as one of the world's most important black models and a superstar in the making when she was selected by Italian Vogue for their special issue on black models to be published in July.
Shot by the revered Steiven Meisel in New York this Wednesday, Jeneil is elated to carry the Caribbean's flag in this regard.
Her Pulse agency colleague and easily one of modelling's brightest stars of the moment, Gaye McDonald, just missed out on this superlative honour, due to scheduling conflicts and issues relating to the shoot's casting. Incidentally, both Gaye and Jeneil placed first and third respectively, in Pulse's Caribbean Model Search in 2005. They arrive in Jamaica early in June for Caribbean Fashionweek.
To be recognised by Italian Vogue as one of the handful of hot black models expected to set the pace in the years to come, is a most uncommon achievement and Jeneil will be justly proud. For an encore, she shot a multi-page editorial for Essence magazine a day later. This is Jeneil's second Vogue, as she shot American Vogue two months ago, also in New York.
Jeneil was always a pace-setter. On her arrival in New York 18 months ago, she was selected by Benetton for their campaign. Immediately, the edgy, dark chocolate stunner, was summoned by Anna Wyntour, Vogue's Editor in Chief, for a most crucial once over. After Mario Testino, arguably the world's most respected photographer, requested a meet, the writing was on the wall.
List of accomplishments
A multiple magazine covergirl, Jeneil's list of accomplishments, other than Italian and American Vogue, Essence, Cosmo and Bennetton campaign, include the cover and 20 pages of Italian fashion bible BNM, Japan's Neutral magazine, the cover of SHE Caribbean and America's Trace. She has been Models.com World Model of the Week on two occasions.
Jeneil's success and Gaye's achievements, underscores the role that Jamaica and Pulse has played in driving the ascendancy of black models in the world. This latest wave comes after a two-year period that has not been the greatest for black models.
In much the same way that two other Pulse models, Nadine Willis and Jaunel McKenzie, pushed black modelling back to the top in the 2003-2006, Jeneil and Gaye, seem destined to lead the charge in 2008 and beyond. Recently, in London, when the Independent featured a story of black modelling under attack, it was two Jamaican stars from Pulse, Nell Robinson and Nadine Willis, that British industry leader Select Model Management held up as examples of what their black models were doing and had accomplished.
If models hunt in pairs, then Jeneil and Gaye constitute the latest dynamic duo from Jamaica and the Caribbean, charged with the responsibility to make a difference by leading the charge. Pulse is accustomed to having its models in that role and accept the fact that they appear chosen for the task, year after year, over a period totalling three decades. These new stars are looking forward to CFW this year, as it will give them an opportunity to celebrate their success in front of their home audience. Jamaica will certainly welcome them. Caribbean Fashionweek takes place June 11-16 in Kingston at the National Indoor Sports Centre.