Name: Jordan Smith
Agency: Unite Unite
Claim To Fame: Smith has been featured in major beauty campaigns for high end brands including Tatcha and Danessa Myricks. She was also in a commercial for Johnnie Walker.
Models born outside of New York and LA have to use secondary markets to start their careers. Jordan Smith pitched herself to the nearest secondary market in Dallas to dismal results.
“I’m from Oklahoma originally, and I’m a petite model. So I tried for years to get into it in high school, but there just wasn’t a market for me. And especially being a dark skinned Black woman it was even more difficult at that time,” she told HelloBeautiful. “People really weren’t receptive. My mom also is a very resourceful person and tries to help me out, but I mean, it was just difficult for us to get in.”
They were told “slightly racist things,” slipped under the veil of subjectivity. “Sometimes there’s nothing you can do because people don’t desire your specific look,” said Smith, who did not immediately realize what she was experiencing.
“I think the older I got, I realized what was going on in the past. I mean, I know being short was always something that was an obstacle for me. But as far as my skin color, it’s just hard,” she continued. “It took me a couple of years to realize that also being the darkest woman in the room was what deterred me from getting booked sometimes.”
Smith completed an education in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Oklahoma and when she did not book a gig she was up for she took a chance by moving to the major Modeling market of New York City to pursue the field as well as other creative endeavors like makeup artistry and music. “I’m just a naturally spontaneous person. That’s kind of how I live my entire life,” she explained. “I tell people I’m not even a person, I’m a music note personified.”
“I kind of drained my savings. So once I moved to New York, it’s one of those classic stories. I move with like $200 in my pocket. Maybe less,” she revealed. Smith began working towards booking jobs as soon as she arrived at her sublet. “I just started reaching out, reaching out to everyone. I mean, Instagram has been the best tool for me, really growing my network in New York. I reached out to millions of photographers.” She volunteered to assist with makeup on the projects of some of the people she admired to gain access.
She studied the dynamics on sets and the work of those behind the camera. After years of difficulties making connections in Dallas she went to New York with an open attitude that paid off. “I knew that I needed to be undeniable and that’s what I worked to do is be the most versatile model, whether it’s photo or video, whether it’s beauty or editorial.” She connects with major makeup artists on the sets of the jobs she books, earning her work and helping her amass tricks of the trade. “The one thing that I really enjoy about modeling the most is that it’s like the best one-on-one for makeup from some of the greats in the industry. So I learned so much that way,” she said. “So I’m fortunate that I’m getting mentors through modeling and I never leave set without booking some type of job. Like I go to set with the intention of just being open slash vulnerable enough to either make a friend or a future connect.”
Smith now has an agent to help her make more connections. “I’ve recently been signed to a boutique agency called unite unite,” she said, “I’m grateful that I’ve had both experiences being freelance and otherwise…it’s so important to make sure that I can grow as a business woman. And I really want to be a mogul.”
She donates her time and resources to LGBTQ organizations that provide complimentary make up sessions. Smith has other philanthropic aspirations as well. “I’d also like to have like a housing slash job rehabilitation center for their families as well to really help bring them out of poverty and homelessness,” she said.
“That’s my life goal,” she added. “I definitely want to leave my mark on the world.”