Written by Tavyday
And then there was Jeannie…
Hailed as the “Queen of Petite Plus Models”, Jeannie Ferguson has a walk that demands even the longest legs bow down. Posing at a defiant 5’feet 3’inches, this compact powerhouse has the modeling industry standing on its manicured tiptoe – if only to peer over her bar of ferocity. Although now signed to True Model Management, Ferguson has had one of the longest independent petite-plus tenures to date. Over the span of a decade, her unique method of hustle has pioneered an entire industry of half-pint hopefuls, demanding their chance at runway stardom. Aspiring and professional models alike, have commissioned private, as well as group training, anxious to learn from Queen Jean’s signature gait. So while confidence is always BYOC, Jeannie has everything you need, to Walk this Way.
Order in HER Court
Chubby and chocolate, with a pretty head full of hair – little Jeannie Ferguson decided early in life, that she would NOT be the one to mess with. Refusing to be heckled over her dark skin and meaty physique, retribution no doubt came in the form of a swift fist. “Of course people told me that I was ugly, that I was fat, that I was black…” Having rumbled her way through an ostracized childhood, femininity soon beckoned the young Ferguson, swapping out her boxing gloves for six-inch custom heels.
“Chile, I went from tomboy, straight to fabulous…”
While relatives would often fuss that Ferguson was a “devilish child,” she argues that she has just always had a strong sense of justice, even if that meant taking matters into her own hands. Having once considered a career in law, it is evident that while Tinker’esque in size, she is still big on sincere fairness. Tough-as-nails, Jeannie Ferguson has proved to be a remarkable ambassador for non-discriminatory industry standards.
“I give it how it’s given; I don’t treat anyone any better or worse than they treat me.”
There are many variations of “Black” all over the world, yet none more poorly tolerated than the African-American variety. Where blatant racism may have subsided, residual colorism has taken its passive-aggressive place – something Jeannie Ferguson has experience with, as a gloriously rich-toned woman. Very rarely casting for print, Ferguson recalls being on set, clad in exceptional makeup, while for the first time, being asked of her ethnic origin. Ironically, the photographer thought it more exotic for Brooklyn-bred Ferguson, to be from the Bahamas – implying that Black is only acceptable, when it can be watered down.
“When there is a need for a dark skinned girl, they call either me or Suzette.”
When Jeannie Ferguson dances, it’s obviously to the beat of her own drum; yet, I imagine something Reggae in tempo – enticing unsuspecting onlookers, too enthralled to look away from her…bald head??? Amid the glares of curiosity and side-eye judgments, one can’t help but feel a sense of admiration for Ferguson’s seemingly effortless ability, to defy European conformity. While some would speculate that although she has a spectacularly bare scalp, it may be too different for fashion or even regarded as a self-inflicted third strike.
Admittedly; out of fear that people wouldn’t understand, Ferguson would show up to castings donning a wig – as the bald life proved a very difficult commitment in the beginning. I mean with all the adversities she’s faced, why give the fashion industry another reason to deny you, right? Wrong! Clever Jeannie Ferguson knew that even with several odds already stacked against her, she could not be just another pretty face – she had to be daring, and unforgettable. “Why doesn’t she have any hair, is she sick…” On the contrary, however, the dark hair and side parts she’s sporting are definitely sick!
Read the entire interview here.
A Plus Model Shoots Production
Wardrobe Styling by Jay Jarvis
Zakiyah Caldwell Photography
Makeup by Glossy Bee