Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes!
DISCLAIMER: This post contains a photo of implied female nudity in an artistic context.
“I grew up being ‘prepared’ to become a Miss America contestant”, said aspiring model Jojo West. “As a child my mother placed me in beauty pageants. I took etiquette classes and modeling classes.”
While haute maintenance from the outside Jojo’s childhood experience in the industry hasn't always been glitter and sparkle. “In my teens I interviewed with John Casablanca, but was told I was a bit too ‘fat’”, she said. “ I wanted so badly to be picked up [by] them that I began to practice unhealthy eating habits, to put it bluntly I developed an eating disorder.”
During that time, Jojo stopped modeling completely. “[I] realized that I wasn't prepared for it. I hadn't learned to love and accept my own uniqueness …”
After a 15 year hiatus from modeling, self-exploration and improvement, Jojo is returning to the scene with a new attitude.
“I decided to re-enter the modeling industry last year”, she said. “I felt it was time to go back into the work I never stopped thinking about!”
“When I decided to start modeling again I knew that the most difficult thing for me would be doing nude or implied work, mostly because of the insecurities that most women have. That’s why I decided my first shoot should be implied and nude. It was a good decision. After seeing the final images it gave me the confidence to continue. I saw myself as others see me. Many shy away from nudes or implied I see it as expression and art. The human form is beautiful regardless whether it’s a size 2 nude model or a size 10 nude model. Art and beauty are all about perception.”
Jojo’s personal growth and self-acceptance is an inspiration to women everywhere. “A lot of people don’t know about my struggles with eating disorders or depression when I was younger; [yet] I’m always willing to discuss them and share my experiences”, she said.
“I've always wanted to show the world that being beautiful isn't just about having a pretty face and being a size “, she said. “ Beauty is the embodiment of intelligence, confidence and kindness bundled up into the amazing creation that is the human form and sexy is a state of mind! Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes!”
With Jojo’s return comes a new set of goals more realistic and palpable.
“A lot of models or aspiring models envision themselves with a 6 page spread and a being on the cover of Vogue. Not to say that I wouldn't jump at the opportunity (who wouldn't ) but my goals are modest, mostly. I would love to be published in a magazine or catalog. However, if it doesn't happen right away or ever, I wouldn't be discouraged from continuing my career as a model. It’s something I enjoy doing. Ideally, I would love to be picked up by an agency that works with “plus” size models. I think the fashion industry needs more of them.”
With three languages under her belt, Jojo also has certifications in medical and dental lab assisting and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. And yet she is still not easily fit into any one cookie cutter stereotype.
“Most people are shocked to find out I consider myself a goth chick”, she exclaimed. “ I’m so chipper and happy and most associate goth with being angry and sad. I like dark colors; black, purple, blue, they’re just great! My musical tastes are so varied I couldn't be identified as just one, but overall I prefer rock and industrial some of my favorite artists are: VNV Nation, Velvet Acid Christ, Aesthetic Perfection, Garbage, Evanescence and Ani Difranco to name a few.”
Jojo went on to explain, “I am very well spoken, to the point that I normally don’t understand slang terms or Ebonics I am also quite chatty. Those that work with me often have a hard time keeping a straight face. I like to make others smile, laugh and feel comfortable so I often tell jokes or silly embarrassing stories about myself to make everyone relax.”
Jojo is not currently signed to an agency. Yet her maturity, self-confidence and intelligence are sure to make it easy for others to work with her, in front or behind the camera.
Whatever the future holds for Jojo, she’s taking life one step and runway at a time.
“I’m planning to audition for Full Figured Fashion Week (FFFW) in DC but I think I may be a few sizes too small to make the cut. There are some other auditions coming up I’m hoping to attend. Unfortunately it seems that there aren't many designers in the area working with curvier models. It would be great to meet those that do!”
To contact Jojo for bookings and/ or additional information:
Credits: Image 1 (Beauty, head shot): Chubs Photography (College Park, MD); Image 2 (Implied): Patrick Cocuna (Annandale, VA); Image 3 (Red top): True Story Studios (Alexandria, VA); Image 4 (Boudoir): Dave's Photography (Falls Church, VA)
Jojo has such an inspiring outlook on the industry due to her experiences; and I truly appreciated her honesty. It was an absolute pleasure to air her story here, and I hope you readers can appreciate it as well. Be sure to show Jojo some love!
Thanks for tuning in! Be sure to check out next week's Dreamheart Spotlight!