Interview With Jessica Clark

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The life of a fashion model may outwardly seem like an easy job filled with money,

glamour and endless nights clubbing with other beautiful people. In fact, it can

often be destructive, cruel and pure hell on one’s self-image. Just ask Jessica

Clark, a successful model, who also happens to be a life coach and out lesbian.

A 23-year-old stunner of British, Indian and Nigerian descent, Clark was raised

in a single-parent home in the U.K.

At 16, she won a beauty contest, and before you could say “work it,” she

was strutting on runways from New York to Milan. Along the way, Jessica

experienced the dark side of the business that they never show on America’s Next Top Model: drugs, eating disorders

and exhaustion.

Today, Jessica is not only a healthy model who eats well, she’s also a life coach

who manages a journal-style nutrition and fitness blog with her girlfriend, Lacey Stone,

a New York City professional trainer.

Clark talked to AfterEllen.com about the pros and cons of the modeling industry,

how she turned her life around, and how she met the woman she loves.

AfterEllen.com: How did you get into modeling?

Jessica Clark:I won a beauty competition in England years ago, in the days

before America’s Next Top Model. So, I

didn’t have to stay in a big house or anything, thank God, but it was one of those

nationwide searches. I entered it because they had a £5,000 cash prize, and

being 16, it was more money than I had ever had in my life. And I happened to win.

AE: And you’ve been modeling ever since?

JC:
Yeah, pretty much. Initially, I kept it to summer vacations. I did a year

at university; I wanted to be a barrister. I thought modeling was completely disrespectful

to women and beneath me, and I would never indulge in it properly as a career.

AE: It’s hard to ignore the money, though.

JC:
Yeah. It was the money. My family is pretty poor. In the end, the law wasn’t

a good fit for me, I don’t think. I wasn’t happy, and kind of a messed-up teenager.

I said: “Oh, this is a great out. I’ll go travel the world and no one will

know that I’m just confused about everything.” And like you said, you start

making money and hanging out with the beautiful people. It all seems way more fun

than studying.

AE: Yeah, just a little.

JC:
[laughs] But then, you get into your 20s and you’re like: “S—. Everyone

else has qualifications and careers, and I’m being pretty.”

AE: Some of those people would rather

be you.

JC:
I guess. The grass is always greener.

AE: Isn’t it awesome to be you?

JC:
It is awesome to be me. I’m very

lucky. Very lucky.

AE: In your experience, how true are those

model stereotypes?

JC:
You mean dumb, anorexic, living on cigarettes?

AE: Yeah, that one.

JC:
The issue is that most models are so

young. Sixteen is starting to be old now. I’d say most girls start when they’re

about 14. It’s crazy. A lot of them leave school then, so it’s not because

they’re dumb; they’re just not necessarily well-read. English is often not their

first language. And they get caught up in this very narrow world where the things

that are really important in the industry are not necessarily that important outside

of it. So, your topics of conversation can get quite limited, if you’re not careful.

They’re not encouraged to be smart.

But the girls that last — the ones [who don’t] lose their minds or burn out

— make it into a business. That’s what I’ve managed to do, fortunately.

 

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