BEAUTY IN THE DARK
Name: Jaida Li
Photographer: Rick DiMichele
Makeup Artist: Jaida Li
Hair Stylist: Jaida Li
1. What inspired you to get into this industry?
I figured it couldn't be too hard to look pretty and take some good photos. I was wrong. It's actually a lot of hard work, sucking in, holding a pose to get the right lighting, angle and shot. I saw other people do it and felt... why not try. You only live once.
2. How long have you been modeling?
I used to model over a decade ago for Hot Import Nights car shows, did Playboy Miss Social (non-nude) competitions, but just recently got back in the game the past 3 years.
3. Who is your favorite model?
Growing up watching Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista turn it up and just being completely awestruck with their beauty. Elle MacPherson, "the body," and Kate Moss, for being shorter than the average model...I love them all, they're all beautiful in their unique ways.
4. Were you always comfortable in your own skin and in front of the camera?
I still get jitters when I'm in front of the camera today. Being comfortable in my own skin is something that took 29 years to develop. Coming from a really traditional Chinese family, I was always told I'm too tan, too skinny, too fat...it took this long to feel comfortable inside my own skin, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks now, which has made time in front of the camera much easier.
5. Did you have any mentors who really helped mold and guide you?
Photographer Mike Brochu (Rest In Peace) and photographer Frank Antonio were there for me from day one. Then, model Samantha Allyson and photographer Chris Fulcher dunked me back in 3 years ago. Now, Frankie Basta, an amazing videographer and close friend, and Rick DiMichele who shot this series...they're just amazingly talented people. It's really an amazing experience to be able to work with such driven, like minded individuals.
6. Do you have any tips for aspiring models in the industry?
Never downplay your worth. Repeat after me, "no free work." It's critical to build the networking capabilities, but once it's built, you need to know that your time is your most valuable asset. It's the only finite resource that can't be replenished.
7. Do you have a WTF moment at a shoot?
I do recall shooting in 24 degrees for Couture Mask with Chris Fulcher and Samantha Allyson at an insane asylum...I was contemplating whether I should or should not get back into modeling.
8. What are some of the biggest revelations you've discovered through modelling?
Again, time is of the essence. I realized that I am aging at an alarming rate, and it's best to capture my youth, beauty and creative ideas now before it's too late or before someone else does it.
9. Tell us something random about yourself.
I speak 4 languages. Mandarin Chinese, English, French and Hungarian. I want to learn Italian next.
10. What are you most proud of?
Finishing my college degree. It might have taken 12 years with several hiatuses, separations from the university, and dropped courses, but I fought through with blood, sweat and tears, and completed my Bachelor of Arts in Economics. My MBA is next!
11. When it's all said and done, what do you want to be remembered as?
That I was a genuine and loving person. Nothing else in the world matters, what you do for work, your home life, your education, nothing matters without your integrity. Treat everyone with respect.