“In America there’s a lot of discrimination against black people, and that was a disadvantage”.
From walking on runways to being featured in magazines, Miyanda Jacobs is a young Superstar in the making. After striking a deal with her modelling agency Dulcedo Management, her determination to showcase her modelling talents led her to places like Paris, London, and New York City. It’s time for lights, camera, and action as I sat down with Miyanda to discuss her struggles that she endured with her parents, discrimination in the modelling industry, and what she foresees for her future.
514: Where are you from?
MJ: I’m from Montreal, but a part of me feels like I was mostly raised in New York because I was there for three years. So I actually developed early adult years in New York, so it kind of defines who I am a little bit.
514: Where are your parents from?
MJ: My mother is from Barbados.
514: Living in Montreal did you have to struggle growing up?
MJ: Yes, I struggled growing up. I didn’t grow up with my parents at all, and that was hard.
514: Who did you grow up with?
MJ: My aunts who are my Father’s sisters and my grandmother before she passed away.
514: Was it your choice to live with your relatives?
MJ: No I don’t think it’s ever anybody choice to not live with their parents at a young age. Growing up, it’s definitely not something you want to experience, because it is detrimental to your entire growth.
514: Do you have a good relationship which your parents now?
MJ: It still hurts. It’s kind of awkward now because I see my parents and it’s kind of like a vibe of a stranger. But it just allows me to focus on who I am, and what I want to be, and what I want to be is to be there for my child whenever I have one.
514: Do you have any siblings?
MJ: I have two sisters and I love them so much.
514: Did you grow up with your siblings?
MJ: No I didn’t grow up with them. None of my siblings grew up with my parents. We all have our personal struggles.
514: What High School did you attend?
MJ: I attended Lauren Hill Academy.
514: Were you a popular kid in school?
MJ: Yeah! I was popular because I did sports, I danced, I was modeling, I was doing volleyball, I did track, and I hanged out with a lot of guys. I just love guys’ mindset. Growing up, I grew up in a Caribbean home, and the way that we would joke is by making fun of you and that was love. Guys are just like that too, they will be like “boy what type of shoes are those”, and I just wanted to laugh. I was always so busy that I just wanted to laugh.
514: How did you get discovered to become a model?
MJ: I was walking to basketball practice and a woman approached me and asked me if I had the time. She had her cell phone in her hands, and she asked me for my number and she was telling me that she can get me with a modeling agency. So she kept calling me, and E-mailing me, and finally I met her with my mom as well.
514: What was the name of the Agency that was trying to recruit you?
MJ: Dulcetto Management, and up till this day I’m still signed to the same agency. They take care of you, and really teach you the ropes. They will go shopping with you, they will train you how to walk, they will train you how to talk, and they will train you how to perform.
514: Do Agencies know what they’re looking for when they’re actively recruiting someone?
MJ: They never know what they’re looking for, but they make you come and then they see your potential before you see it.
514: What were you doing in New York for the last three years?
MJ: I was modeling.
514: How different is it living in New York compared to living in Montreal?
MJ: New York is probably one of the scariest cities to live in. But it’s beneficial, for the simple fact that it’s rough.
514: What part of New York did you live in?
MJ: I lived in the Bronx and there are so many people. And the Government makes it not fair for anyone to survive there, because the majority of the population is poor. The rate of pay that you get for an average job doesn’t compare to the rate of pay that you get in Montreal.
514: So why are you back in Montreal at this time?
MJ: I’m back in Montreal because of the industry.
514: Were you going through hard times in the industry?
MJ: I was. I was with this agency for three years (starts crying), and in America there’s a lot of discrimination against black people, and that was a disadvantage.
514: Can you explain a regular day as a life as a model?
MJ: I get an Email at nighttime or in the morning. And they will me that I have an audition and how many auditions that I have for that day. So once you’re there, there’s a panel with judges, and I bring my portfolio with me and I give it to them. They ask me questions about myself, and this can last between one minute to five minutes. And in this interview you have to sell yourself, you have to give them your all, you smile, you entertained them, and you do whatever they want you to do. And sometimes you have to change your clothes and put on their clothes.
514: Is there usually a lot of girls auditioning at the same time?
MJ: New York City is so big, so usually there’s about 50 to 100 people auditioning at the same time.
514: Is there a lot of favoritism?
MJ: Of course, especially with Instagram. I usually have to sign in my name, my height, my measurements, and then I have to put my Instagram name. This was not happening at the beginning when I started modeling.
514: So Instagram models are killing the game?
MJ: Of course they’re killing the game. It’s called publicity, to have a larger following so they could get more money. It’s just facts. Even though they’re not models, they’re the ones that are taking over. But shout out to them because they’re doing their thing. But it’s also called discrimination. Why am I not on top right now? I get a lot of views on my videos; however you don’t like my pictures. People are afraid of people who are confident and people that are aware, and they will do everything that they can to put you down.
514: How long does it take to have a trajectory to become a superstar?
MJ: Some people after two or three months they can start having a superstar career.
514: How was your first photo shoot?
MJ: My first photo shoot was at 16 and it was great.
514: Is it hard to be in a relationship with someone when you’re considered to be a sex symbol?
MJ: Yeah it’s so hard. I don’t think they necessarily understand that I view myself as a regular person. They don’t understand that I’m very humble, and I’m a very different model than most.
514: If a man can’t handle all the glitz and glamour with you are you willing to make it work or is it deuces to him?
MJ: For now I have no choice but to say deuces. Because the glitz and glamour is a part of me, like literally I’m a diva. When I wake up I like to work out, and then I like to look pretty, and have my little coffee. It’s literally become a part of me. But I literally tell you this is who I am and this is the job that I’m a part of. And you gotta try to deal with it, and if you can’t deal with it, you’re just gonna stress me out.
514: Are you in a relationship right now?
MJ: I’m not in a relationship right now.
514: Who’s your celebrity crush?
MJ: ( LOL). Myself?
514: Is modeling a flattering job?
MJ: Oh! Hell yeah.
514: Do you believe that modeling is art?
MJ: Yes. Everything has an art. It’s just the way you view it.
514: Do you travel a lot?
MJ: Yeah! I went to Paris. I also went to London for 30 days to develop myself more as a model. While in London, I also met Little Simz and she’s so dope, her mind is crazy.
514: If someone doesn’t get discovered like you, what is the proper procedure to become a model?
MJ: First you’re going to have to send an E-mail to different Agencies, and afterwards they will contact you if they want you with an application. Then they are going to ask you for some pictures, and your measurements, and if you want to be extra cute just do a little video.
514: If you had the power to change one thing about the model game what would it be?
514: What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
MJ: I’m ol’ school. I have a CD player next to my bed, and I just put a CD on and I listen to ol’ school vibes.
514: Who do you listen to musically?
514: Any final words?
MJ: Follow me on Instagram.
Photo Credit: @klm_brn
Writing By: Vlad Pierre
Edited By: Yvonne Sam