At first, Jourdan Dunn’s body made her feel very insecure. As a woman of color, she thought that being skinny made her ugly because she wasn’t blessed with the same weight and curves that her relatives had. What she didn’t know was that her tall and leggy figure made her a natural for the modeling industry. Jourdan Dunn’s security with herself began to form after a modeling scout discovered her while on a shopping trip at a Primark department store in London.
The encounter with the scout in 2006 led Jourdan Dunn to a contract with London’s Storm Models Agency, the same one responsible for launching the career of Kate Moss. It was one of five agencies that would sign her to modeling contracts. In February of 2007, Jourdan Dunn made her runway debut in Milan and New York City, walking for various shows including Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren. The former would become one of her favorite designers to work with, because of his flair for unpredictability. Jourdan Dunn closed 2007 with a feature on Vogue.com’s British corner that hyped her as a face to watch.
2008 was a year of great success for Jourdan Dunn, not only for her quick industry rise, but also for her groundbreaking jobs that brought increased awareness for models of color. Prada hired Jourdan Dunn on the runway, the first time in more than a decade that a black model had done a show for them. In print, she would also get the July cover of Italian Vogue, which was a special issue specifically dedicated to black models.
As the year progressed, Jourdan Dunn slowly but surely made her way on to magazine covers, with special highlights being the September i-D issue, the November British Vogue (posing with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Eden Clark), and the December French Elle. Already selected by Style.com as a prestigious Top 10 Newcomer, the send-off to Jourdan Dunn’s successful year came at the British Fashion Awards where she walked away with top honors as the Model of the Year.
In 2009, Jourdan Dunn busied herself between runway assignments, magazines and advertisements. In the spring alone, she survived almost 100 different shows with no stumbles along the way. She also made another stop on the Vogue circuit by landing the cover of the May 2009 U.S. edition, a stylish cover that highlighted the best and brightest models of the time. In advertising, she tried in vain to keep her hands off of Vincent Cassel for YSL’s fragrance line, La Nuit de L’Homme, and had more fun with fragrance for the one-and-only Calvin Klein.
Jourdan Dunn’s headline-grabbing ways continued with a surprise pregnancy announcement. Rather than scare off designers because of the — gasp — baby-induced weight gain, Jourdan Dunn’s new baby body attracted a wave of support across the industry, as well as playful speculation from Style.com about which outfits would suit her pregnant figure the best. The designs of Burberry, Stella McCartney and Duro Olowu made the short list. As Jourdan Dunn enjoys the last few months of her pregnancy, she’s looking forward to a one-season break from the catwalk, before resuming her job and maintaining her status as one of modeling’s hot new faces.
In November of 2009, 19-year-old Jourdan Dunn announced that she was pregnant. At the same time, her face graced the cover of Teen Vogue. A bad role model for teens? We’ll leave that up to the gossip rags to decide.