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As a brand, JBW is big on people. You’ll notice that in our team, many of whom have creative projects outside of their 9-5, and you’ll notice that in our campaign stars as well. The models for our RESERVE Cristal photoshoot aren’t just gorgeous faces and killer posers: they’re creative powerhouses, too. To steal a line from the campaign, they’re one force helping JBW to “Shine brighter.”
We wanted to share the spotlight with the faces behind our latest editorial, Jordan Blake and Taylor Hawkins. We caught up with both of the New York City-based models and artists to chat about the shoot, modeling, and life beyond fashion.
Scroll through for a closer look at the full campaign and interview with the models.
RESERVE Cristal debuts September 22. Click here to sign up for updates.
My name is Jordan Blake. I'm originally from Nigeria, but I currently live in New York City. I do a couple of different things. I would say I'm an artist. I do different things from modeling to photography to filmmaking – really just finding whatever means to create.
How long have you been modeling?
I’ve modeled full time since I moved to New York in February 2020. Before that, I’d say I was doing it part time in school. It’s been about four to five years.
Did photography follow from modeling?
It was after that point that I was exposed to the creative world and modeling. I was surrounded in that space because my friends were photographers and everybody who surrounded me was creative. I was grateful to be in that space that allows you to grow more intentionally. Like, I want to do more photography, I want to do things I really love and take the ideas I have in my head and bring them to life. So, modeling evolved into so many different things.
Tell us about your creative practice outside of modeling.
I do a lot of self portrait photography where I capture myself in different lights and with different expressions. I like to do photography where I capture people and tell intentional stories. That’s been the driver of what I’ve been doing in all these different forms. It’s like, how can I tell the story to this, how can I evoke emotion, how can I be someone else, in a way?
It’s interesting hearing about your self portraits as a model. How is that experience different when you’re taking your own photos?
The self portraits started when I got back from a shoot one day and I had this durag that was just laying around so I was like, ‘I’m gonna see what I can create with that.’ I guess it came from being in all these different spaces as a model. Honestly, I learn from all the different sets. Even JBW, that day seeing how Kalan was setting up the light to get those shots. I was taking notes at all those different places and thinking, ‘How can I apply those to create my work?’
Inspiration comes from modeling, photography, seeing people create.
My name is Taylor Hawkins, I’m 24 years old. I was born January 30, 1998 in West Philadelphia. I’m from Philly, but I grew up primarily in South Jersey, and then I ended up moving to New Brunswick after I graduated high school. I went to Rutgers for four years, I got my degree in Public Policy and Africana Studies, and now I live in New York.
I’ve been in New York for the past three years. When I started out here, I was doing a lot. I was bartending, I was a cocktail server, I was a teacher. I was teaching English language arts to seventh and eighth grade students in Bed-Stuy, and now I'm a full-time model. I think now I'm moving more towards creative direction, I photo assist sometimes. I would say anything artsy fartsy I love, and also design.
What’s your favorite part of modeling?
My favorite part of modeling, I guess, is the expression. It’s like a combination between dancing and acting. I’m not going say that I’m amazing at either, but I like the challenge of it – of learning how to tell a story with my expressions and my body.
What do you see yourself doing outside of modeling?
Definitely creative directing. I see myself leading film projects, and I’ve been doing video work as well. I do enjoy photography, of course, I love film photography, but video truly encapsulates that whole entire moment. I love music, too, so I could see myself scoring productions in the future, I could see myself directing and making short films and things like that.
I also have intentions of starting a non governmental organization that’s going to be like a production company that tells African history through a fashion storytelling lens. That should be coming out in the next few months.
Going back to this watch campaign, what makes you “Shine Brighter” or feel your most confident?
I do this thing sometimes where I reflect – like you know how sometimes your phone will show you ‘On this day?' Sometimes I’ll go into that and I’ll look back at old photos and see, like, ‘Oh, I was working retail that year,’ or ‘I was bartending that year and I was really hoping to quit that job.’ Just seeing my progress, because it’s so easy to get caught up in social media and seeing what everybody succeeding, and doing all these things. What makes me feel my greatest is just reminding myself of all that I’ve already done. That reminds me of what I can continue to do.
You can follow Taylor and Jordan's journey on their respective Instagram pages. Sign up here to up to be notified when RESERVE Cristal becomes available, and stay tuned in to Directory for news and updates from JBW.