Deejay Stacey Mckenzie? - Supermodel heads to the studio

Jamaican-born top model happy to be home

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Entertainment Desk Co-ordinator

Sunday, January 23, 2011    

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SHE'S the supermodel with that look. Lips, legs, fair skin and freckles... and let's not forget the voice — Stacey McKenzie cannot be missed.

Having walked for some of the world's top fashion designers including French design icon, Jean Paul Gaultier and TV campaigns for the likes of Calvin Klein, the shy girl from Allman Town in Kingston has gone on to capture the world's fashion capitals, from London to New York, Paris and Milan. However, McKenzie is never one content to rest on her laurels, basking in the glory of past achievements. Having been in the modelling industry for more than a decade, she currently invests her time with her increasingly popular Walk This Way Workshops which teaches aspiring and established models the tricks of the trade. She was also a judge and runway coach for Canada's Next Top Model -- that country's version of the Tyra Banks-created hit TV reality show. However this still leaves this energetic, leggy one with way too much time on her hands, so her latest project is music. Stacey McKenzie wants to become a deejay.

She rolls into the Jamaica Observer's offices and eyes follow her. Dressed in a figure-hugging little number she says cost only US$30, but ups the fashion stakes with a towering pair of stilettos from every girls favourite shoe designer, Manolo Blahnik.

She is in Jamaica on holiday and is visibly overjoyed at being on home soil. "I just love to come home. No matter what exotic location I am in across the globe, there's simply no place like Jamaica," she gushes, rolling her eyes and giving the quirky look that has made her the muse of some of fashion's elite.

"Jamaica just has an energy, I feel it the minute I step off the plane and see my people; it just ignites my passion -- everything about Jamaica just rekindles my fire -- the people, the food, the weather. This trip was long overdue as I haven't been home in three years, and that's too long considering that I am usually here two or three times per year," she adds.

So what has she been up to since she landed on The Rock, we ask. McKenzie says, she and her mother, who also lives in Canada, have just been catching up with friends and family. Plus, there are the trips to the beach and swimming in the Rio Cobre, which she says runs through a property her family owns in St Catherine. Then there's food. This model admits to being a foodie and when she comes home is the real deal -- pepper shrimps, manish water and fried fish. "I love my local food. Even though I cook Jamaican dishes at home, I love getting that authentic Jamaican taste." You cook?, we ask. "Oh God yeah. I cook predominantly Jamaican food at home, -- oxtail, boiled dumplings, yam and bananas, yes man," she says in this thickest Jamaican accent. "Just before mi come here mi eat some 'flittas', not fritters, de real ting 'flittas'," she adds bursting into a loud infectious laugh.

But amidst the food and festivities, McKenzie is also taking time out to nurture her budding musical career, while on holiday. She's working with her producer friends, Jay Ras and Zuela at their studio in St Andrew, vibing on their beats in order to get the right feel, something that suits her.

But where did all this come from. McKenzie admits that pursuing a musical career was never a passion of hers until five years ago. "One day I just thought to myself, why not give it a try -- focus on all of my talents. So I have been taking my time, working on perfecting my craft, so when I finally hit the airwaves and stage, I will be taken seriously and not be 'the model who tried music'," the top model explains.

McKenzie professes to be a hardcore dancehall fan. This is clearly reflected in her an un-named track which is posted on her personal website, in which influences of Lady Saw and Macka Diamond can be readily heard.

"Dancehall music is first and foremost for me. I am a big Bounty Killer fan. I love Killer's sense of style, both in terms of music and fashion. Love Mavado, and Spragga Benz -- it doesn't help that Spragga is mad gorgeous," she adds with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

She also draws musical influences from Nina Simone, Grace Jones, Sade as well as rock bands Pantera and Led Zepplin. She notes that the voice is an important characteristic in the kind of artistes that she likes.

With no sign of slowing down, Stacey McKenzie is forging ahead, armed with a determination she says has been passed on to her by her mother, whom she described with much affection. "My mother is a really strong-willed woman, who even when the chips were down after we moved to Canada in 1986, and were living in a homeless shelter, she was able to 'gully it out' and move us forward. She will always be my inspiration."

So what's next? The top model is very tight-lipped about a major project expected to come her way. All she will say is that "it's huge". She's also looking forward to the North American tour of her Walk This Way Workshops, which is expected to start in March and should hit Caribbean shores, including Jamaica, by summer.

As for retirement, McKenzie shrugs off the mere thought of hanging up those stilettos, " I still enjoy modelling and fashion. It allows me to live out my fantasies through travel, experiencing cultures and languages. Why retire?"





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