Jourdan Dunn

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3 mins read

Jourdan Sherise Dunn was born 3 August 1990 and is an English supermodel and actress. She was discovered in Hammersmith Primark in 2006 and signed to Storm Management in London shortly thereafter. She began appearing on international runways in early 2007. In February 2008, she was the first black model to walk a Prada runway in over a decade.

In April 2014, it was announced that Dunn was signed as the new face of Maybelline New York. As of July 2014, she was declared an icon by models.com. Dunn is considered to be one of this generation’s supermodels.

She was born in Brent, London, and grew up in nearby Greenford with her mother. She attended Elthorne Park High School in Hanwell. Jourdan is of Jamaican, Grenadian, and Syrian ancestry. She admitted to being self-conscious as a teenager, due to her height and weight. She stated growing up, people would often tell her she should become a model, but she was apprehensive as she was not really sure what a model did. She commented that shows like America’s Next Top Model intrigued her, as they gave her a new perspective of the job.

In early 2006, at the age of 15, she was scouted by an agent from Storm Management, while accompanying a friend in a London Primark.

At the age of 16, Dunn made her runway debut in the New York shows in the autumn of 2007, walking in shows for Marc Jacobs and Polo Ralph Lauren, among others. Soon after, she quickly rose to prominence within the industry. In 2007, she was featured on British Vogue as a “new star,” and in 2008 Style.com listed her as one of the top 10 newcomers. She also walked 75 shows during the spring/summer 2008 season, including Louis Vuitton and Valentino. Dunn has since become a major fixture on runways, having walked for the industry’s biggest designers. She was often distinguished for being the only black model in shows, for which she later condemned designers. She has garnered attention for her legs and for her walk which she says she practises frequently with very tall heels, walking over 60 shows during the spring 2009 season.

She has been in campaigns for Ann Taylor, Burberry, Balmain, Calvin Klein, Yves Saint Laurent, DKNY, Michael Kors, John Galliano, Victoria’s Secret, Tommy Hilfiger, Topshop, Kate Spade, Express, Jaeger, Rag & Bone, Gap, Aldo, Shiatzy Chen, Benetton, H&M, Banana Republic, Zalando, Free People, Selfridges, Neiman Marcus, Pepe Jeans, Liu Jo and Saks Fifth Avenue, and was the face of Rihanna’s collections for River Island.

She has appeared in editorials for the American, Italian, French, British, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Japanese, Brazilian editions of VogueEllei-DDazed & ConfusedWPopCentrefold and V, among others. In Teen Vogue‘s November 2009 issue in which she appears alongside Chanel Iman, she discusses her and Chanel’s previous competitive relationship, as well as the challenges they face being black models in the fashion world. The issue sparked controversy as Dunn; who was 18 at the time, announced her pregnancy. Teen Vogue faced backlash from the media, who accused them of glorifying teenage pregnancy.

She continued to model until she was six months pregnant and couldn’t fit into any of the clothes, notably walking the catwalk for the Spring 2010 Jean Paul Gaultier show, with a baby bump. At the age of 19, ten weeks after giving birth, Dunn returned to the runway at London Fashion Week for the Winter 2010 season. For returning to work so quickly, she said her motivation was her son.

Dunn signed a deal with British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer to design a kidswear clothing collection. The collection; called “Lil’ LonDunn by Jourdan Dunn”, debuted in April 2016.

A collaboration between Jourdan and British fashion retailer Missguided was launched in April 2017, featuring athletic wear. Revenue for the company increased by 75%, with international sales increasing by 130%, whilst the campaign with Dunn was active.

Dunn appeared in the music videos for “Yoncé” and “XO” from Beyoncé’s fifth self-titled studio album which is widely described as a “visual album” due to every song being accompanied by a music video. The videos were shot in Brooklyn and Coney Island, New York, respectively. The “Yoncé” video was directed by Ricky Saiz and features fellow models Joan Smalls and Chanel Iman. The video was inspired by the 1990 David Fincher video for “Freedom” by George Michael, which also featured models, such as Naomi Campbell. The “XO” video was directed by Terry Richardson and features Dunn alongside Jessica White and Diandra Forres.

Dunn currently hosts a cooking show titled Well Dunn, on Jay Z’s Life+Times YouTube channel. The web show has featured celebrity guest co-chefs, such as 2 Chainz, Wale, Karlie Kloss, Chanel Iman, Cara Delevingne and Joan Smalls.

She appeared in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.