In the late nineties, northern lass Jayne Windsor could be seen on billboards everywhere as the face of power-house brands Calvin Klein, Fendi, Armani and Gap in addition to the pages of fashion bibles around the world. After being told she wasn’t photogenic enough to model, Jayne proved her detractors wrong and went on to have a successful career. I caught up with her by email to reflect on those times and find out what she is up to these days.
We often hear stories about models being discovered but your story is different. Tell us about how you got into modeling.
I was encouraged by friends to become a model, so eventually I plucked up the courage to approach some agencies. I first went to a local agency in Newcastle then to an agency in Leeds. When I walked through the doors of Models 1 in London they turned me away saying I would never be photogenic enough so I kind of lost hope a bit. The agency I was with in Leeds suggested I give Japan a try but as it turned out I wasn’t skinny enough for the Japanese market so I was encouraged to give Select Model Management a try. I did and they absolutely loved me and within a few months I was living and working in London.
Do you think you appreciated your career more because you had to work for it as opposed to having it handed to you?
I don’t think I appreciated my career enough back then and some days I would hate it as it was so daunting and sometimes disappointing.
What were some of the misconceptions you had about modeling?
I hadn’t predicted how hard it would be have a super demanding career along with children.
How did you stay grounded?
I was kept grounded because of my children and having to get back to them after a busy day. No after parties for me.
What are some of your memorable moments from the height of your career?
I look back at my career in the early days and think wow that was amazing and how lucky I was to have worked with such amazing people and getting to travel the world too. I have too many memorable moments to list but I worked with photographers David Sims, Mario Testino, Juergen Teller, Bruce Weber, Craig McDean, Regan Cameron and Peter Lindbergh and shot for magazines all over the world including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire. I was also the face of big name brands like Calvin Klein, Fendi and Armani.
You returned to the industry after a break. How would you contrast the changes in the industry to when you began?
After a break I returned to modelling and in some ways things had become harder. For example, in the earlier days, Select would send me on endless go-sees and these days it’s hard to get any go-sees at all, which makes it difficult for me living up north and not being able to make it for last-minute castings. I think shoots are far easier now with digital images instead of film when you didn’t quite know if they had the shot.
What did you discover about yourself through modeling?
I discovered how shy I was in the early days. I remember it being quite daunting having to meet new people on every shoot. It was like starting a brand new job every day but I soon got used to that.
What advice would you give to your younger self in hindsight?
My advice would be to try to enjoy every minute of it. It might be stressful, but it could all be over in a few years.
What are you up to these days?
These days I live near Newcastle in my home town with close family and friends around me. I’ve had a few exciting shoots recently and I’m very much enjoying it.
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