This month we interview Jamaican-born international model, Oshane Porter. Discovered by the Jamaican modeling agency Zahni, she is now signed to Irene Marie Models. She has graced the covers a few magazines and strutted her “stuff” on the catwalk of “fashion week”.
As we Jamaicans say: Which part a Jamaica yuh come from?
I grew up in Victoria Town, a small neighborhood in Manchester , just off the outskirts of Clarendon.
How were you discovered?
My love for Fashion has always been apart of me. Before my current agency started I paid another agency in Kingston a visit; then it seemed they were interested in Money over Talent. They gave me a letter to seek sponsorship for their upcoming competition. I was 14, I continued school. Two years later I graduated and the day after my graduation, I called Zahni International Models, as they seemed to be a great agency and getting a lot of press, Marlon Bolton met with me, he pulled out his Polaroid camera and snapped one photo and it changed my life to this day.
What did you think you would do in your career before you were discovered?
Fashion has always been in the front of my mind; However, I would defiantly be in the kitchen!
Did you think you would be model?
Always! I was always reminded by a stranger whenever i went out and when i came home, my entire family second the motion.
What is your definition of beauty?
I am tempted to say real beauty comes from within, but that is so cliché. My definition of beauty is personality, I am apart of an industry that is either made up of Divas, people with oversized egos or rookies who fake it till they make it. Whoever, whatever they are, as soon as they open their mouths, as soon as anyone open their mouths, they either become likeable or hated. We can all agree that even if the most beautiful person walks in a room and acts all diva he or she becomes ugly under all circumstances.
What do you think about the controversy in Europe on how skinny models should be?
It is all politics; the organizers themselves may even have plus size assistants because they do not want anyone to steal their thunder. We all want to be skinny. Sadly, that’s why weight loss companies make so much money, it is only sad that models go the extreme, by having eating disorders, but this is not reality it is actuality, Models aren’t the only ones who does this, normal people having eating disorders as well. All in all, I am naturally skinny, other models are like me, and we all suffer because of it. Gladly, im not like other girl who have to eat ice cream on their way to Europe and broccoli on the way back to New York.
Tell us about your first photo shoot. Were you nervous?
My first photo shoot was nerve racking! It was a normal Zahni Models test shoot in a large hotel auditorium transformed into a multi million dollar photo studio. My agent was there, a well known photographer, stylists, the works! However, it was good; an experience
I know most models travel but do you have a base?
My agent, Marlon Bolton, is a genius. He based a Size Zero Model in Miami! A lot of people told me it would be a career Suicide. I totally ignored and its paying off. I’m signed with Irene Marie Models, you may remember them from the MTV Series ‘8th and Ocean’, Its great because I take advantage of every single client that I would have met in NYC or Europe that comes here to shoot in season and I have no competition, as i am arguably the only model here with my look, so they pretty much have no choice.
What is the most interesting place you have traveled to so far?
I would say South Africa which is quite recent. I had misconceptions as a lot of us do. I thought I would only see malnourished black people. Sadly and regrettably that was my opinion; BUT there are very educated normal people there. It’s like any other destination and IT’S BEAUTIFUL! (I owe South Africa an apology)
What it your typical day on a photo shoot? A typical day is a 24hour day. I start the first half of with 8 bottles of water, exfoliating my skin, face and body, staying positive and sleep; then the second half is getting up really early, depending on my call time, and rock it out from there!
Have you participated in any of the International Fashion shows throughout the world? Did you like it and how was that experience?
I have done all the Fashion Weeks at some point, New York, London, Paris, Miami but my favorite would have to be my first, which was Heatherette in Miami, only because, I was young, new to the Runway, inexperienced and i did it for the fun of it! Plus Heatherette is amazing and a veteran designer that the whole world adores
Do you watch America ’s top model? Who is your favorite judge?
I don’t see the show often, mainly because i think they should fire whom ever cast the models, but i like Ms. J, he shows us that we can be different and be lovable; all at once.
Is your experience with people in the industry similar to what we see on the show?
Somewhat, but that is television, so they make it a bit over the top. All in all, the larger the market, the greater the number of divas and competition you will get.
What type of questions do you get when others on a photo shoot learn you are Jamaican?
They ask impossible questions, like “Do you know Bob Marley?” (laughs) Seriously though, they are all enthused with the country, and the casting directors and photographers loooove me even more when I mention I am Jamaican, They ask me to cook Jamaican food for them and get them Jamaican Music and stuff.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I see myself in Naomi Campbell’s shoe (Still Modeling) but more established in different ways, as I want to own by then a Catering Company and complete studies as a chef
What food is your secret passion? Some nice Fry Dumplins and Salt Fish and tomato!
What Jamaican food do you yearn for while on a photo shoot far way from anything Jamaican?
Curry Chicken and Yam (lol)
Any words of advice for a young lady who aspires to be a model?
I say follow your dream and if that’s your career goal, peruse it the day after your graduation. Stay in school now, get your Math and English first, then come join me in stardom. But we all must realize that modeling is unfortunately not forever, but fashion is, television is and there are so many connecting avenues, and at that time you will need some level of Education.
Thanks for the interview and all the best in your career. Any final words for the Jamaicans.com users? I say to all you guys continue to make jamaicans.com your eyes and ears for news on Jamaica and their people and just general current affairs and entertainment and if you want to be like me or any of the other models represented by our agency feel free to submit photos to [email protected] or call the satellite office at 305 396 4331