The second-largest city in the country, Antwerp is known as Belgium’s pillar into history. A marvelous city known for its architectural landmarks, Antwerp has also become an important site within the fashion industry, producing young Flemish designers like Nadine Wynants, Walter Van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Kaat Tilley, and Dirk Bikkembergs.
But Antwerp has also given the fashion business — and the male population at large — another gift. In 1984, it served as the birthplace of Jessica van der Steen. There is sadly little that is known about her private life, which she likes to keep… well, private.
As a child, Jessica claims that she generally wasn’t found attractive (even her mom told her she looked like Miss Piggy). She has described her younger self as not photogenic and recalls being mistaken for a boy.
It could have been as a result of this that Jessica became quite the tomboy, pursuing activities which didn’t involve looking good, such as sports. When she was seven, she was hired as a ball girl for the Royal Antwerp Football Club, a popular local soccer team.
As she grew older, her features became more defined and it became obvious that she couldn’t pretend to be a tomboy any longer. At this point, she met a professional photographer who took pictures of her.
When the glossies came back, it was clear that Jessica had a potential modeling career in front of her, and that comparisons between her and Jim Henson puppets were no longer apt.
While still a teenager, Jessica was signed up by the renowned Ford modeling agency. With their time-honored connections, Ford soon landed Jessica work promoting the products of Ritchie Swimwear, Rebequinha, Tommy Hilfiger, Clarins, Dior, and Libero ADSL.
At the tender age of 16, she made the April 2000 cover of the magazine Ch. In September 2003, she was prominently featured in the Dutch edition of Elle and she later made many men happy by appearing in the 2004 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition alongside Fernanda Motta and Marisa Miller.
Although ambitious, Jessica doesn’t want to take the run-of-the-mill supermodel route and move to Paris or New York. She wants to stay in Belgium for as long as she can. She’s very much attached to her country and also fears leaving her family and friends behind.
She’s also afraid of leaving her boyfriend behind. Jessica won’t publicly share the identity of this mystery man because she values her privacy too much. She’s also aware that he wouldn’t be pleased if he saw his name in the newspapers.
Jessica continues to look towards the future with hopeful eyes. In addition to having a house and a family in the next decade, she plans on trying her hand at acting and possibly even moving to an American farm where she could have horses. In the meantime, she will continue to live in Antwerp.