Thursday, 13 September 2007

The Fashionista Diaries - Meet Janjay Sherman

New York Fashion Week came to a fantastic climax today with stunning shows from the preppie, Tommy Hilfiger and the toast of NYC, Donna Karan. As the fashionistas packs up their designer luggage and head to London for a week of cutting edge shows and endless parties they will have a huge precedent to follow. New York is undeniably the fashion capital of the world and if you can make it there you are home dry. No one will know this better than a group of six twenty-somethings who have just started their careers in fashion. Rachel, Andrew, Janjay, Tina, Bridget and Lauren have practically become household names with their role in the documentary, The Fashionista Diaries. Billed as part Project Runway with a dashing of The Apprentice and The Devil Wears Prada sprinkled on the top, this fly on the wall programme has caught the imagination of fashion lovers. One of the popular characters is 22 year old Janjay Sherman who has landed a gig at the ultra trendy, Flirt Cosmetics and has proved herself to be capable, talented and sassy. So what is it like working on the glamorous show? I set about to quizz her.

How did you hear about The Fashionista Diaries and what made you apply?
I was actually an intern at Zac Posen which was coming to an end and I just wanted to get a job after graduation. I came across a posting on Mediabistro.com which said they were looking for a fashion assistant which ended up being a casting call. I got a few callbacks and from there the whirlwind started.

So when you found out that the ad was for a TV show how did you feel? Were you excited, taken aback or did you think 'Hell no?"
I was actually very excited and it seemed like something that definitely match my personality. I am a very determined person and I saw it as a way of getting my foot in the door of this industry.

You project yourself very well on TV and are very composed which has not gone un-noticed by others. Are you aware of what a great role model you have turned into?
It is a blessing that I can be a role model to people. I just really want people to see what the industry is like and that you don't have to be catty or snotty. You can be yourself and stay focused and have your goal in mind. For me I try to stay true to myself and always be aware that people are watching. This industry is hard to break into and you always want to make the best impression.

Who are your favourite designers?
Oh I have so many, Zac Posen, Karl Largerfield, John Galliano, Betsy Johnson are my main ones.

How would you describe your style?
There is not one way to describe my dress style, I would say I have a very eclectic taste. One day I can be very uptown chic and the next day I will be downtown chic. Everyday is different for me and I dress according to my mood. I definitely think you can be cute on a budget and I do not try to break the bank to look stylish.

Now about your hair - author Tia Williams was raving about your hair on her blog. Is your hair real? Is it a weave or am I being cheeky? Either way it looks great so tell me your secret.
(laughs) No you are not being cheeky. I change my hair an awful lot, I actually just cut it. In the beginning of the show it was my hair and then midway of taping I decided that I didn't want shoulder length hair anymore. I wanted to be a diva, I wanted to be Beyonce, so I got some extensions and wore it very long and dramatic. Then a couple of weeks ago I decided that I wanted to go short and do the Victoria Beckham look so I went and got a bob. I love to change my hair it goes with my personality and I feel like I can be a chameleon.

You almost had a heart attack when your old (ahem) friend, Bobby came down for a photo shoot. I can't blame you he was gorgeous. Has anything happened between the two of you?
I can't give away too much because you have to tune in and watch it but Bobby and I do actually hang out. He is a real looker, a very humble guy and lots of fun to hang out with. You will have to tune and see what does happen or not happen between me and Bobby.

That day we saw another side to you, a cute flirty side. Would you say that is how you are out of work?
Throughout the show you will see different dimensions of Janjay, you will see me at work where I am very straight and focused, you see me with the other assistants when we meet up for drinks after work and you see my goofy side and then you see me the giddy girl who has a crush on this guy. One thing about this show is that it catches the essence of everyone's personality.

You and Tina have a really great relationship and her personality is very different from yours, would you say that this shows that women in fashion can get on as opposed to being at loggerheads?
The cool thing about our friendship is that we are able to find commonalities in our differences. I'm learning from her, she's learning from me, we help each other and I think we definitely want to see each other succeed. We look at each other as the dynamic duo. I really love Tina, I really do.

Where does the name Janjay originate from?
My parents are from West Africa, from Liberia and it's actually a very common name in Liberian culture. So I have met other Janjays before ironically and it means God's Grace.

The Fashionista Diaries is on SOAPnet.com on Wednesday at 9pm (US time).

Picture supplied by Shepley Winings Public Relations

2 cool comments:

Chanel said...

Oh wow Ronke, what a FABULOUS interview with Janjay! Love her. She's such a mature, responsible 22 year old. I really want to see both her and Tina succeed. Mandy (at 7th House PR) on the other hand, upsets me to the maximum degree EVERYTIME she opens her mouth. Mandy is such an unbelieveable waste of air time. I couldn't stomach being in the same room with someone like that, let alone work for them.

FemmeNoire said...

Very nice interview indeed. Great job!