This London girl with the face that launched a thousand ads was born on October 16, 1981, in England, to parents Stuart and Tessa. Stuart was a successful entrepreneur and Tessa an established photographer, and Jacquetta’s upbringing was a comfortable one. Her childhood was relatively uneventful until the age of 15, when her potential as a model was recognized.
In 1997, while visiting the Wheeler’s vacation home in Tangiers, Morocco, Italian designer Stephan Jansen was introduced to Jacquetta. He saw that she possessed something special — not just a pretty face, but that model oomph.
Jansen asked the 15-year-old waif to go with him to Milan to take part in his show. Far be it for any teen girl to turn down such an offer, although Jacquetta thought at the time that it would be little more than a one-time fun adventure and an excuse to miss a few days of school.
After casually dismissing her first “discovery,” Jacquetta could not ignore her second one. Home in England a year later, she was stopped on her way to a salon in Knightsbridge by famed fashion photographer Mario Testino. Having noticed a pattern, Jacquetta let fate take its course. Next thing, she found herself in a studio shoot for French Vogue. That’s not even the fast track in the modeling world. That’s going from zero to the very top overnight.
By the end of the year, Gucci had seen Jacquetta and had to have her. They wasted no time in signing her up and inviting her to L.A. Her teachers told her she was crazy if she turned it down. So, by age 17, Jacquetta ranked among the most sought-after faces in the world.
Jacquetta was still a normal-looking London schoolgirl, except on those odd days she would take off school to shoot for Calvin Klein, Prada or Gap. Other days she would be kited off to New York to model for Ralph Lauren. Sometimes she would be invited to movie premieres, where she’d meet the likes of Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow.
By 20, Jacquetta had appeared in countless ads and campaigns. The boyish blonde with the cryptic solemn look was driving designers wild. She could make anything look good. In fact, in 1999, the authoritative fashion mag The Face named her “Model of the Millennium.” That’s nothing to scoff at.
By 2002, Jacquetta’s list of clients was huge, including major labels Givenchy, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, John Galliano, Versace, Cacharel, and Cerruti. That same year, The Sunday Times Pay List dubbed her one of Britain’s highest-paid supermodels, having pulled in £2.65 million (almost $5 million US) over the course of one year.
At 23, Jacquetta’s career is still going strong, but she has plans to attend university. Given that she’s reaching retirement age for models, we’ll have only a little bit of her left to gawk at. Let’s hope she still has a liking for topless strutting, something she’s well known for.
Jacquetta currently lives in England and is dating Russian photographer Alexi Lubomirski.