HOW DID I DO IT?
Dreams Can Come True
In the beginning, I was an average girl with model potential. Before the days of ANTM, I watched Fashion TV and MTV’s House of Style and religiously practiced and planned for when a modeling scout discovered me.
As a kid my mom cut out sections from the back of the newspaper for Wilhelmina Kids Model Searches and stuck them on the refrigerator planning to take me and siblings one day but like many parents hoping to get their kids in front of industry gatekeepers - agents, managers, and scouts; we were always busy with school, family affairs and life just got in the way.
At 12 years old, I saw a modeling school in a strip mall in my neighborhood. Excited that my chance had finally come, I rush inside thinking that if they only saw me then everything would start happening. Instead, they tried to sell me classes and told me to come back with a parent.
A year later I went to live with my grandmother. The moment I got off the plane she took one look at me and said, “You’re going to be a model!” The very next day she took me to an Open Call for Ford Models Kids Division and they signed me up! FINALLY - I’ve been discovered. I’m a REAL MODEL!
Well, no actually….On the way home my grandmother told me I wasn’t a real model until I landed my first job and got my first paycheck.
I spent weeks going on castings, go-sees, and auditions. No-one told me that I would spend more time going to see about getting a modeling job than I would spend actually “modeling”. It was boring. After school each day I had to walk around the city and take the subway from casting to casting. Finally, I landed my first modeling job. The initial feeling was GREAT but I wanted more. For each job I got, I spent hours commuting and waiting while spending lots of money on photos and other marketing materials. Even at the ripe age of 13, I had one boring question on my mind….
How was I going to be the Bi-Racial Cindy Crawford as a nobody without a rich famous family?
Fast forward a decade of going on more castings, auditions, and go-sees. Landing some gigs, losing many more in between. Traveling from NYC to Miami to LA to South Africa to Europe and back, living out of suitcases in crowded model apartments and cheap hotels trying to make a name and leave a mark. Modeling can be a really hard life with little stability and no real guarantees.
I think EVERYONE gets the feeling that they want to leave a mark, have a purpose, meaning while making more money and having more freedom.
Life for me changed when I decided to compete as “Miss Jamaica” in the Miss Asia Pacific International competition.
I began BRANDING myself with a website, business cards and on social media.
What I learned about marketing and branding myself really paid off. By the time I was headed to China for my first competition I had secured my first sponsorship deal, had made several appearances including public speaking, newspapers, television, and radio.
One of the most notable experiences I learned was how to handle controversy. During the Miss Asia Pacific International 2005 competition in Guangzhou, China I conducted on stage protest regarding the poor treatment of contestants by the organizers. It made front page newspapers in China.
Throughout my 10 year + pageant career, I’ve held the following titles:
Miss Jamaica International 2005, Miss Asia Pacific International Jamaica 2005, Miss Earth Jamaica 2005, Miss Beauty Queen World Jamaica 2005, Miss Beauty Queen World 2005, Miss Asia USA Israel 2005, Miss Asia USA Yemen 2006, Mrs. Jamaica 2011 and Mrs. Ethnic World International 2012.
It’s been many, many years since I first stepped foot on a pageant stage but I’ll never forget how empowering it was to learn to take charge of my personal brand. Because I chose myself I was able to open doors for others. I was the first Jamaican candidate to compete at Miss Asia Pacific International, Miss Earth and Miss International. Since many girls have followed in my footsteps.
PHOTO: Beginning her pageant career in 2005 at the age of 25, Daisi represented Jamaica in the Miss Asia Pacific International pageant in China. Later that year she represented Jamaica at the Miss Earth in the Philippines. For both competitions, Daisi was the 1rst Jamaican representative. During this time, Daisi was most popularly known for her outspoken views on labor issues and racial discrimination in the pageant industry.
Being a Beauty Queen has added to the tremendous amount of opportunities that have been offered to me as a model. I am often featured in fashion magazines, industry publications and walk down the runway for fashion shows around the world. Here is just a snippet of the modeling work I’ve accomplished. My full portfolio can be seen at, www.DaisiJo.com.
I’ve also had the privilege of appearing in several major and independent films including King of the Streets, What Am I, ABCs of Superheroes and Box of Shadows. I have appeared on Lifetime Network, MTV, Bravo and other networks around the world. Here is my complete filmography on IMDB, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4195965/
Building a brand for myself has enabled me to write and publish books and articles on topics I care about most and that I believe will help others. My books have been read by hundreds of aspiring models and pageant contestants searching for answers on how to better market, monetize and brand themselves.