Over the course of the next week, The Gleaner will run a special feature on Pulse supermodel Jeneil Williams.
Williams has not only become one of the most recognisable supermodels in the world, but is arguably the most successful covergirl that the Caribbean has produced. She will lead the line-up of models at Caribbean Fashionweek in June and is certain to capture the attention of press and fashionistas in attendance from around the globe.
Jeneil Williams is considered the most successful Caribbean covergirl in history and one of the most recognisable supermodels on the planet.
Come June, Williams will lead the model call at Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW).
This is not she first CFW, having successfully come through the ranks in both the Live as well as the Reality TV versions of Pulse's Caribbean Model Search. However, this is the first in which she has taken pole position, given her current status as the region's megastar.
Williams was discovered in Pulse's Caribbean Model Search in 2005. She placed in the top three behind the winner and fellow international Pulse model Gaye McDonald. However, it was clear from the very beginning that her potential was enormous.
Williams epitomised the unique beauty of Caribbean persons of African descent. Like Lois Samuels and Alec Wek before her, Williams was not the stereotypical or traditional beauty, usually seen on the world stage, something her manager Kingsley Cooper clearly understood.
He recognised this fact at the start and, in introducing her to the international marketplace a year and a half later, decided that she would have to be marketed in a particular way.
Strategy for success
Cooper personally took Williams to New York and, along with New York Model Management, a Pulse affiliate with whom she was placed in that city, framed a strategy for success. It immediately paid dividends. A week later, Williams shot her first campaign for Benetton. Two weeks after that, she shot her first international cover (and 28 pages) for Italian major, BMM. At 17 years old, Williams became Pulse and Jamaica's hottest new face and was named world Model of the Week by Models.com, the bible of the international modelling industry.
Williams had previously shot the cover of SHE magazine in the Caribbean and went on to shoot the covers of such varied and iconic magazines as i-D (twice), French, Full Freedom (cover plus 26 pages), LOVE and the Wall Street Journal (twice). The crucial LOVE cover (from Conde Naste) became a further catalyst for her career, catapulting her into the superstar stratosphere (as one of the eight big names in world modelling). As such, she joined the select group of that issue's covergirls (each girl having a different cover), which included Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Natalia Vodianova, Lara Stone, Daria Werbowy, Kristen McMenamy and Amber Valetta.
Interestingly, Kimberley Mais, the iconic Pulse international history maker of the mid- to-late 1980s, has done a lot more magazine covers than Williams, but while Mais' were scored largely in Japan, Williams has done hers for some of the most revered brands in the major markets. Also, while several Pulse stars have worked for almost all of the world's top magazines and appeared in almost every edition of Vogue, Lois Samuels was the only Caribbean model to actually become a Vogue covergirl.
Williams has copped a greater number and variety of editions at this level, than any other Caribbean star.