Name: Jasmine Phillips
Agency: Seeking Representation
Claim to Fame: Phillips is one of the faces of Carol’s Daughter.
Jasmine Phillips shifted uncomfortably as casting directors evaluated the long strides of would-be models straining to stand out in the crowd. Completely unprepared for her chance to impress the casting directors she knew it was unlikely that she would be chosen.
Still, she hadn’t come this far to give up. After working through insecurities about her curl pattern and skin tone she knew she deserved to be there as much as anyone else. So she did something that every model has had to in order to move to the next level. She put one foot in front of the other and tried.
“I think the reason why I didn’t get picked to the show was just cause this was my first casting. I know my work was not the best. Um, so I think I did learn a lot from the casting,” Philips told HelloBeautiful.
Phillips used what she learned that day and combined it with what she learned from her day job as a social media manager at a major fitness magazine to find opportunities for experience.
Instead of simply throwing herself at the mercy of modeling agencies she finds other ways to arrive at the same castings as signed models.
“As far as finding new castings to go to because I’m not signed to an agency I’m doing my research seeing what shows are coming up and what casting directors are posting to find out about castings,” she said.
“ I definitely think that social media has helped me 100% in findings castings as well as other modeling gigs that I’ve done. I work in social media, so it’s definitely helped me find castings because, um, I think that was the hardest thing for me, especially in the beginning was just not knowing where to find castings or how to get into modeling.”
Today she looks for information using unlikely sources. “I’ve seen a few castings on Eventbrite,” she revealed. With her expertise, she can easily vet out scams and time-wasters.
Today with a much-improved walk and additional experience Phillips and her size four frame should be a casting director’s dream but she explained that her dress size doesn’t keep her safe from discrimination.
“I’ve been to a few castings where they’ll say “we’re looking for a certain size,” um, and I fit that size technically, but I’ll go to the casting and I realize looking at the other models how I still don’t fit their idea of a size four when I am a size four,” she said.
Unlike the coded language used to discriminate against Black models, size requirements are clearly stated but the expectations aren’t uniform as they appear.
“It’s been discouraging for me because it’s like, um, in real life, everybody’s not a size four and a size four looks different on everybody. Like I’m a size four, but I do have hips, I do have a butt. But then it’s like the size, what they want is insistent, one size, super straight, super skinny size and it’s like people in real life aren’t all a size four anyway,” she continued.
“I just wish that people were more inclusive,” she added.
In her day job where she controls who gets the spotlight, she gets her wish.
“It is a fitness magazine and we’ve definitely tried to show all types of fitness. Like we don’t have to show a super skinny girl all the time to show, Hey, this woman has like a normal body. She’s had a size two, she’s a size eight, she’s a size 10. And I think people really do like when we post different body types so that people can see themselves in the type of people that we post on Instagram,” she said.
As a model, she takes pride in appearing in campaigns that will offer that level of representation to other women.
“I did a shoot for Carol’s Daughter last year and that’s the first brand that I used when I went natural, when it was like 2010 so then to start working with them almost 10 years later, it was really a full-circle moment,” she said. “Just to see like the acceptance of different hair types.”
Phillips didn’t always have enough acceptance for herself.
“Growing up I wasn’t always the biggest fan of my complexion,” she admitted. “I always wished that I was lighter or I wish that my hair was….even when I started going natural, I wished that I had a looser curl.”
Knowing what it feels like to feel less than informs her work in the modeling and media industries.
She strives to show “that there is not one type of beauty.” By wearing her crown freely in professional situations and not succumbing to pressures to crash diet she sets an example even during her morning commute.
“A few months ago I was waiting for the bus to go to work and there was this father and his young daughter and I just overheard them talking about the young girl who said that she wished her hair was straight and the dad was like, you don’t need to have straight hair to be beautiful. You see that woman over there, her hair is curly and she’s beautiful.”
The experience was a transformative one for Phillips.
“I almost started crying cause it’s like, it’s crazy. Girls, what their idea of, you know beauty is, what they are taught. They are taught what the ideal standard of beauty should be, and that’s why these young little black girls want straight hair. I’m not certain, but she had to have been no older than six years old,” she said. “I was just very heartbroken and encouraged from that.”
“Me just being myself, me being dark-skinned, me having natural hair could really inspire,” she added.
We’re inspired already.