Beauty & brains
Eleazar Jeremie’s name is as striking as her features. With stunning eyes framed by arched eyebrows and a smooth complexion that she attributes to adequate water intake, sufficient rest, Artistry essentials skincare system and her “laughing a lot”, the model’s beauty and elegance have landed her many editorial and magazine spreads and the opportunity to walk the international runways in fashion shows with well-known names in the modelling industry.
Her first name is Hebrew and means Whom God Has Helped. Jeremie is French and means God’s Will Set Free. Standing six feet one inches, she met me in a black capri and black and white stripe shirt, her natural hair in a high Afro puff and face make-up free (she likes to go ‘au naturel’ when she is not working). Then she did something unexpected. She gave me a hug and said: “Thanks for doing this interview.”
With fashion shows being so sporadic and designers not putting out collections as much as international labels, Eleazar says it is “great networking” that keeps her face and name fresh. “I have been a free agent for a while. I am currently searching for an agent who is willing, has the know-how and is confident enough to sell my look.”
Eleazar, 24, grew up in President Kennedy Drive, the middle girl with two sisters, Elizabeth and Alicia. She attended the Alleyne School and spent her free time watching Style with Elsa Klench and the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants. Her admiration and enjoyment of the fashion industry led to her networking and at age 15 started learning the basics such as walking, etiquette and so on. Her journey of becoming a seasoned model, with a name now so well known that she can sometimes forgo casting shoots, started at age 18.
She snagged the 2005 cover girl for SHE Caribbean Magazine. “Locally and regionally, it wasn’t hard to break into the modeling business. It was a matter of networking and having a look that the general public can relate to. I did Caribbean Fashion Week for two consecutive years. Internationally, it is a work in progress. I’m now targeting the correct markets that will embrace my body type and look.”
That look includes her natural hair. Early in her career Eleazar had to do her hair for shows herself. Hairstylists would avoid her hair, because they weren’t trained to handle the texture and volume. She was encouraged to change her hair on countless occasions. The idea was that this change would make her versatile and in turn that would help her career. Eleazar opted to keep her hair chemical-free.
“I love my hair. This tells the world who I am. My style is eclectic, a mix between trendy and bohemian and my hair suits me and my personality. People who know me know I like to laugh a lot and I am carefree. I decided to live my life by my own decisions and just do me. . . . At present, I think most people love my afro. Now I work with some amazing hairstylists who are very creative and are as versatile as my natural hair.”
Since we were on the subject of hair I had to ask about the size issue in fashion.
“A model, at the very basics, is like a hanger. The emphasis is on showcasing the clothing. On the high fashion runway, we see samples of pieces that can be altered, to suit anybody size. It can be agreed that a very small population in the world are size 0- 2.”
She says she is very comfortable with her body. “I know my body type doesn’t fit into this bracket, so I target markets where my body type is suitable and embraced.
She tells aspiring models to focus on how their body look and feel and forget the scale and measuring tape.
“I tried numerous diets and fads during my career. And as soon as I stopped these diets, I would regain weight. So through trial and error, I found some simple lifestyle changes that worked for me and I am able to maintain these to this day. Such as always have breakfast; use everything in moderation; Indulge occasionally [my guilty pleasures are cookies, ice-cream and kit- kit chunky bar]; chose fun physical activity; consume small portions of food.”
Eleazar says the fashion scene in Barbados has grown and has become more sophisticated, but there is still room for development.
“More individuals and institutions, public and private are aware of the serious potential the fashion and the creative industry on a whole, has to be a viable source of economic growth. There is still room for development, especially in the area of creating standards that are in alignment with international ones. Looking ahead is very exciting because of all the new and seasoned designers who are very talented and just need the opportunity and funding to showcase to the rest of the world.”
Speaking of talented, also an actress and student, Eleazar has a long term vision to evolve into an artist encompassing the three main artistic expressions – film, music and dance – and being a household name in these fields. She is currently studying theatre and drama at the University of the West Indies.
She just completed working on a full length local feature film, Sweet Bottom, where she was the props master on set.
“I am tremendously proud of that role. I was always intrigued by the arts and I always wanted to be a part of the creative process, that’s why I’m involved. I will be working on both sides of the camera in the near future.
“I love music – I can’t live without it – and I also love to dance so I am looking at how I can work on those two aspects also.”
Eleazar is excited about all the endless possibilities the world holds and says there is a place for all our talents and enough pie to share.
“The worst perk of being a model is being placed in the box of ‘Models are Dumb and Superficial’. Eleazar Jeremie is the foundation of the model ‘Eleazar/ Elle’ and she is neither of those things. I spent a lot of time doing things right, I’m now working on doing the right things that will push me towards successfully completing my goals.”