Jourdan Dunn – Elle UK – February 2019

Ph: Paola Kudacki
Stylist: Solange Franklin Reed
Web Link (*interview below*):



A lot has changed in the twelve years since Jourdan Dunn was scouted in her local Primark. Back in 2006, the then sixteen-year-old was studying for her GCSEs and had no aspirations of becoming a model. A decade later , at 28, she’s walked for everyone from Burberry to Off White, landed campaigns with Calzedonia, Maybelline, Yves Saint Laurent and more, as well as starring in music videos with Beyonce and launching a children’s line with Marks and Spencers. Entrepreneur, designer, icon, mother and role model: Jourdan is leading a new generation of supermodels who are known not just for their looks but for their voice and their actions. Throughout her career Jourdan has been honest and vocal about her experiences in the fashion industry. “I remember going to shows when I first started, and backstage I would be the only black model” she says. “I’d turn up to castings that I really cared about, only to be told I didn’t get the show because they didn’t want to have a black girl in it.” Committed to calling out injustice and shaking up the fashion industry, Jourdan has changed what it means to be a supermodel. During ELLE’s cover shoot, we caught up with her to chat self-care, selfies and why it’s a great time to be British.

I Was The First Black Model To Walk The Prada Runway In A Decade.
That show [Prada A/W2008 catwalk show] helped my career, but it was also sad because it highlighted the lack of diversity on runways and on magazine covers. Now it has definitely improved, when I go to a show in London it’s amazing to see such a wide range of different faces. Everyone talks about diversity in terms of models, but the changes need to be industry-wide. It’s about hair and makeup and stylists and editors and photographers; these are the things that really do matter, the whole thing is connected and we need to be represented in those areas too, that’s the conversation we need to have.

Everyone Wants To Be Included, That’s Just Normal.
The other day I saw an IKEA advert and I got excited because it had a black family with natural hair, that’s a big moment, that represents a family in the UK, and seeing adverts with a diverse cast is important. Growing up I never saw commercials like that, you can’t hide that we’re here, and we need to be represented.

I Want To Let People Know I Have Struggles Too, I Am Just Like You.
It’s easy to look on Instagram and think someone has a perfect career or family life or social life but everyone goes through different emotions. I guess people look at models on Instagram as if they’re untouchable and not human. Getting told that you’re a role model is such a heavy thing like I said I’m just trying to be responsible for myself but at the same time, I get it, I know that I have women and young girls that look up to me, so I want to be my best self and my true self and it’s not all day every day glam and perfect selfies.

We Have To Realise That Self Care Isn’t Selfish.
We have to look after ourselves or we won’t be able to function. I have a son that looks up to me and I’ve realised if I come home from work or travelling and I’m exhausted he picks up on that energy and think that it’s because of him, I have to make sure that I take five minutes just to breathe. I still feel like a work-in-progress and I have to look after myself, because if I don’t I find that I’m not the best mother, sister, model or friend. Those little moments of zoning out are so important for me.

It’s An Amazing Time Be British.
Our music is doing big things and we really have our own style – look at [UK rappers] Dave and Fedo getting to number one. From Adele and Ed Sheeran to J-Hus everyone is having their moment and America is looking to British music. I meet so many people around the world, but I just love British humour and it really does get you far!

I’m Optimistic About The Future Of Britain.
I have to be because I have a child, but I also feel like the youth today have such a strong voice and the future is in good hands.

This Shoot Will Be Iconic.
Everyone wanted to come together and work together and that’s so important. Before I felt like it was [an attitude of] every man for himself, but it shows that we’ve become this young black, British collective. Every one of us represents someone’s story; I’m representing the mums!