Hailing from Camden, London, Jade Igilima is a full-time model who's worked with numerous international brands including beauty favourites BareMinerals and Becca. Growing up, Jade dreamed of being an actress and still hopes to achieve her goal of starring in a James Bond film as a Bond Girl.
How long have you been on StarNow and what prompted you to join? I joined a long time ago, maybe four or five years ago to take part in a modeling competition to win a contract with Models1. I didn’t know what StarNow was and didn’t quite understand what I was really doing but I uploaded a picture and applied for the competition. I didn’t win and never actually used StarNow again until years later! I came back from living in the United States for a year and felt completely out of touch and wanted to network with other creatives. I heard about StarNow through a friend and I applied for my first StarNow casting call two years ago.
What do you love most about being a model? I love being able to be part of a creative process. It's great to see how different creatives can come together, do their part and together we can create something amazing!
What was your first modeling job, and how did you land that position? It was for a swimwear brand, I got it through applying for a casting on a modeling platform. It was really fun, we got to go to the beach in West Sussex and it was so beautiful and it was the first time I got to work with and meet other models and work with young people who I could relate to, not just adults.
Growing up, how important was it to you to see other people of colour in the media? I think representation in the media is really important. When I was young there were so many things I thought I couldn't do because I was black and I didn't see other black people doing it. l wanted to be an actress but as I got older I realised that I only ever saw white actresses so I didn't think it was something that I was supposed to do. I started a blog to promote diversity because of just that. Hopefully one day no child or young person will ever feel like they can't or shouldn't do something based on their race.
How do you think the fashion industry could promote more diversity in the media? I would love to see different brands, designers and magazines embrace all different types of beauty. The media has such a strong influence on us, if the only images and depictions of beauty are one certain race we are subliminally being told that only that race what is beautiful.
You have a beautiful website and great photos – did you invest in this from the very beginning, or did you work your way to a better visual presence after you had established yourself as a model? I have built my portfolio up over time through networking. I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing photographers. I invested in my website myself. I wanted to have my own corner of the web so people could see more than just pretty photos and a short bio, and get an insight on what I'm really about.
It's no secret that modeling requires long, often unusual hours. Do you ever find yourself feeling burnt out, and if so, how do you move past it? Many people work long and crazy hours, the problem is that with modeling you still have to still look great doing it! I sleep whenever I can; as much as I can, and take regular holidays and weekend getaways to keep me fresh.
What was one of the most difficult obstacles when you first started out in modeling? There were so many. I think the biggest one was feeling lonely. It's hard when your hometown friends all work 9-5 jobs and you have such a hectic schedule. I make an extra effort for friendships I really value. I have a lot of model friends now so I can hang out with them too.
In creative industries, you have to sell and market yourself. What advice would you give to people trying to break into modeling?Be you. Just be the very best version of you.
What is a typical day like for you? No day is the same really. Sometimes shoots, sometimes castings, I get invited to lots of cool fashion and beauty events which is fun.
Best moment of your career thus far? When people started sending me pictures of myself on billboards from different countries. Sometimes you just do work and then forget about it. People actually made me stop to think "wow that was actually really cool".
What was your favourite thing about growing up in Camden? I am fortunate enough to come from a place with so much diversity. My Kurdish friend's mother taught me how to cook the most amazing Moussaka and my Trinidadian friend introduced me to Souka music and I was able to invite them to Congolese family parties and show them how we have a good time! It was such a melting pot, but we still ate fish and chips every Friday, wore Reebok classics and shake our heads in shame watching England get knocked out of the World Cup in true British style.