Friday, 12 April 2013

COVER GIRL: Supermodel Jeneil Williams dishes on Paris, her Rihanna obsession, and life as a fashion star

WHERE MY GIRLS AT?: Williams (in bright yellow) poses with friends at the Puls8 party. Below, accepting her citation from Cooper.

Not many 23-year-olds can lay claim to gracing the pages (and covers) of some of the world's most influential fashion glossies (Italian Vogue, W), rub shoulders with the most celebrated designers du jour (Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs), or have a day named in their honour. Jamaica's Jeneil Williams has done all that and more.

As a mark of respect and recognition, Thursday, April 11 has been declared Jeneil Williams Day by Pulse, the Kingsley Cooper-led agency, which is immensely proud of the stunning portfolio Williams has achieved in a relatively short span in the ubercompetitive world of fashion modelling. It's testament, of course, to Williams' unique Black beauty, her intelligence, and fierce runway appeal. 

TALLAWAH was in the mix at a bash thrown for Williams (fresh from overseas) on Thursday evening at Puls8, and caught up with the 23-year-old Vere Technical alumna to talk about everything from fashion to family to the true art of following your dreams.

TALLAWAH: As an international top model, you've already accomplished so much, and well before your 25th birthday. Are you enjoying the ride?
Jeneil: Yes, I am. I feel great. All of this is like a dream coming true. Everyone dreamed it, and I'm actually living it now, so it feels great.

How would you sum up your experiences in the fashion world thus far?
It's been pretty good. I can't complain. I'm very family-oriented, and I have been getting to spend some time with my family, so that's good. That's very important to me. And I get to entertain and have my friends over when I'm home in Brooklyn. There's a lot of work to do, but it's also fun.

This year alone, your travel itinerary has included stops in such locales as Paris, Argentina, and Milan. Any favourites?
I love Paris! I was recently there for Fashion Week. I also got a chance to visit Napa Valley. I enjoyed every minute of it: the mountains, the scenery, the wines. I had to have some of the wine shipped to me in New York.

Ultimately, what are the long-term goals you hope to achieve in the business?
I want to go as far as I can in the industry. I want to be in the top five, even become the number-one model, and get to branch out and do everything.

Caribbean Fashion Week is coming up.
Yes, I'm so excited. I haven't been home for it for two seasons now, so I'm super-excited and looking forward to being here this year.
What's a great movie you've seen recently.
I like [Tyler Perry's] Temptation, which just came out. And I saw a few other good ones, too, but I really enjoyed Temptation.

Great choice! Who are you listening to right now in music?
I love Rihanna. I'm pretty obsessed with her. And Beyoncé is always, always my girl.

Let's switch gears and get a bit more personal. Is there a special someone in your life at the moment? 
I'm dating, but I wouldn't say it's anything serious right now. I'm still young (Laughs).

Is it hard to have a social life while maintaining a globe-trotting career as a model?
Ah, yes, because you travel so much and you're always on the go. Boys are gonna get jealous, and all that. (Laughs).

Importantly, what would you say are the finest lessons you're taking away from these whirlwind experiences?
There are so many, but the main one is to never burn a bridge. Never, ever. And just be yourself. 

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