Thursday, February 14, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Josilyn Williams

When I first caught a glance of Alabama native Josilyn Williams at the Natalie Joos casting during the Spring/Summer 2013 season, I had to momentarily pause to catch my breath. Williams possesses the kind of jaw dropping beauty that stops you dead in your tracks like a deer caught in headlights. Modelling for just over two years, Williams has been steady building her profile on and off the runway with appearances at DKNY, Suno, Lela Rose, Peter Som, and Vivienne Westwood Red Label, and in the pages of American Elle and Glamour, Elle Italia, and IO Magazine. Measuring in at 178 cm with an athletic physique, piercing brown eyes and angular features that caress the camera's lens, Williams is a proposition that the fashion industry has yet to fully embrace into its fold. Williams has barely registered a blip at the Fall/Winter 2013 collections in New York which leads Inoubliable Model Army to detect the scent of an exclusive in the air. With London Fashion Week due to kick off, Inoubliable Model Army chatted exclusively with Williams about competition between models of colour, working with industry legend Patrick Demarchelier, and coming back as an FBI agent in her next life.

Josilyn Williams
Photographer - Matthew Priestley
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Inoubliable Model Army: Hi Josilyn, thank you for taking the time between castings to chat to Inoubliable Model Army. You're a relatively new face to modelling, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from originally and how did you fall into modelling?
JW: I'm from a small town in Alabama, but come from a big family. I kind of knew I wanted to do this so went to a modelling event where I met my manager. After a couple of years of waiting to graduate high school, he introduced me to my current agency in New York.

Inoubliable Model Army: Do you miss Alabama and have you adjusted to the frenetic pace of New York City?
JW: I miss my family more that I miss Alabama itself. I love NY and would call myself a New Yorker now. I adjusted quicker than I expected to city life.

Inoubliable Model Army: Your star has been steadily on the ascent in the industry with runway appearances last season at Peter Som, DKNY, Lela Rose, Suno and Vivienne Westwood Red Label. Do you enjoy the shows and are you looking forward to the upcoming Fall/Winter 2013 season?
JW: The shows are so much fun and I enjoy catching up with my friends. But shows are hard work. They are a necessary and rewarding part of the business. I will be going to Paris and London, but I'm not sure yet whether I'll be doing the whole season. I think Vivienne was my favourite show so far?

Peter Som - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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Suno - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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DKNY - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
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Vivienne Westwood Red Label - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
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Inoubliable Model Army: Inoubliable Model Army caught a glimpse of you last season at the Natalie Joos casting. What is your approach going into castings and what do you feel are the most important factors required to make a favourable and lasting impression on casting directors and designers?
JW: Phew... I think it's all based on presence and personality that you bring into a casting. What aura you give off... confidence and energy, you can't be worried about whether or not you get the job. A client knows if you are confident or not so it's always best to walk away leaving a good impression.

Inoubliable Model Army: You've done some incredible test shoots with William Lords, Matthew Priestley and Cameron James Wilson. Have you gotten used to seeing images of yourself in print and do you feel that modelling is an innate skill or something that can be learnt through experience?
JW: It's something that you learn. Every day just shooting and working, whether it's understanding what lighting works for you or how to move. No one is born a model... it's on the job training!!!

Inoubliable Model Army: Modelling is a highly competitive industry with so many beautiful girls looking to breakthrough each season. Opportunities for models of colour differ exponentially from those of your caucasian counterparts. Do you feel that this creates tension/competition between models of colour and how does this affect your psyche when going into castings knowing that there may be only one or two spots allocated for black models in a cast line-up?
JW: I just feel like I know who I am and that not all black models look alike. We are all different shades  and come from different backgrounds so we all offer something different. I just feel you either have it or you don't, and may the best girl win!!... haha... There is competition in all aspects of life including modelling and the opportunities are out there for us to grab.

Photographer - William Lords
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Untapped Potential
Photographer - Felix Wong
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Leaps & Bounds
Photographer - Uncredited
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Inoubliable Model Army: What do you feel are the biggest challenges you face as a model and what are the most valuable life lessons that you have gained through your modelling experiences?
JW: Keeping my body I'm shape. Keeping myself mentally strong and not worrying about what people say regarding race and managing expectations. I've learned to become a stronger and more mature person, how to travel alone and to use a map! I'm getting more cultured that's for sure!

Inoubliable Model Army: You shot with Patrick Demarchelier last year for American Glamour. Did you get the jitterbugs about working with such an industry icon and what did you take away from the experience?
JW: Honestly, I had no idea who he was so I wasn't nervous. I didn't know how big it was until after the fact. I'm just honoured that he saw something in me and that I was able to deliver!

Inoubliable Model Army: How do you retain a clear perspective and sense of self in an industry where you are constantly being objectified and judged on your exterior physicality?
JW: My mom and parents keep me grounded with their values so I haven't really changed that much. I'm still my mom's spoiled baby lol...

Victoria Lee & Josilyn Williams
US Glamour - March 2012
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Elle Italia - February 2013
Photographer - Alexei Hay
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Photographer - Johanna Nyholm
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Inoubliable Model Army: What are the biggest misconceptions about modelling and the industry?
JW: That it's easy! It's hard to travel the world and be away from your family and friends all the time. It's a job and you have to expect to work hard to be successful!

Inoubliable Model Army: What do you hope to achieve in your modelling career and do you have any dream assignments on your wish list?
JW: I hope to get to a point where I can branch off into other things like acting. And of course, every girl's dream... Victoria's Secret!

Inoubliable Model Army: Do you have a Plan B in case modelling doesn't work out in the long-term?
JW: My Plan B is to become an FBI agent. Crime scenes, car chases and all of that stuff!

Inoubliable Model Army: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
JW: My smile! (I hope at least!)

Closing Ceremony
Photographer - Rowan Papier
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Inoubliable Model Army is delighted to announce its collaboration with Premier Model Management on a series of exclusive interviews with Premier modelling talent. Special thanks to Alex Shah at Premier Models and Marc Tuscher at Revolution Management. For more information on Premier please  on to

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